John Luther Adams


John Luther Adams Festival

John Luther Adams Festival · July 26-30
— An All Immersive Sound Experience —

"No composer has been more successful at using sound and music to make listeners feel the emotion of being there." — SF Classical Voice

This week celebrates the music of the Pulitzer Prize and GRAMMY-winning composer John Luther Adams, whose innovative works are the products of a uniquely American viewpoint, with emphasis on the natural world, the Alaskan wilderness, and the culture of the arctic Inuit people and other indigenous populations. Adams has composed for a wide range of settings including chamber ensembles, orchestra, film, television, voice, and electronics. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music in recognition of his orchestral piece Become Ocean, which was also awarded a GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. He received a second GRAMMY for his percussion piece Inuksuit, an outdoor sound experience featuring 9-99 percussionists. Radiolab described Adams' works as "immersive listening experiences that fully take you in ... a soundtrack for the end of the world."

This is the first time ever that multiple compositions’ written by Adams have been performed over one week.

Preview: "John Luther Adams Gets a Festival at SFJAZZ" by San Francisco Classical Voice

John Luther Adams

Listening Party w/ John Luther Adams

Wednesday, July 26, 7:30PM • Miner Auditorium
SFJAZZ Founder and Artistic Director Randall Kline sits down with John Luther Adams, who The New Yorker declared as "one of the most original thinkers of the new century." They will discuss the week's events and how nature has uniquely inspired Adams' compositions. Event will include Q&A session and reception. Free For SFJAZZ Members!

The Wind In High Places

The Wind in High Places, Untouched, Canticles of The Sky, Dream of The Canyon Wren

Performed by JACK Quartet
Thursday, July 27, 7:30PM • Miner Auditorium

Called the “superheroes of the new music world” (Boston Globe), the acclaimed string quartet performs groundbreaking works by Adams, including 2013's Dream of the Canyon Wren, a work composed specifically for the JACK Quartet.

JACK Quartet

World Premiere: Everything That Rises

Performed by JACK Quartet
Friday, July 28, 7:30PM • Miner Auditorium

The JACK Quartet presents the world premiere of Adam’s Everything That Rises, a new work that redefines music for the string quartet. Each musician is a soloist, playing throughout. Over the course of an hour, the lines spin out —always rising— in acoustically perfect intervals that grow progressively smaller as they spiral upward.

Sutro Baths, Lands End


Led by Doug Perkins
Saturday, July 29, 1PM • Sutro Baths, Lands End

Described by The New York Times as “the ultimate environmental piece” and lauded by eminent New Yorker critic Alex Ross as "one of the most rapturous experiences of my listening life," the 80-minute Inuksuit is an innovative composition for up to 99 percussionists in a large open-air space, allowing the audience to create their own experience.

John Luther Adams' 'Veils and Vesper'

Veils and Vesper

Sound Installation
Saturday, July 29, 4-10PM • Grace Cathedral

An electronic soundscape that evolves slowly and organically over six hours, this four-part electronic soundscape audio installation changes as listeners move around the space, taking full advantage of Grace Cathedral's natural 7-second delay.

John Luther Adams

Ilimaq & Red Arc/Blue Veil

Featuring Doug Perkins & Adam Marks
Sunday, July 30, 7:30PM • Miner Auditorium

Heralded as a “percussion virtuoso” (The New York Times), Doug Perkins performs Adams' solo percussion piece Ilimaq, a tour de force of percussive virtuosity, and joins pianist Adam Marks in duo on Adams’ 2001 work Red Arc/Blue Veil – an evocative piece scored for vibraphone and piano in which the sound of both instruments is processed live by electronics.

"one of the most rapturous experiences of my listening life” — The New Yorker