Stephen F. Austin State University

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In the Trees concert series to feature 'Inuksuit'

April 9, 2015 - Robbie Goodrich
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The second annual In the Trees concert series at Stephen F. Austin State University will feature John Luther Adams's monumental work, "Inuksuit."

The free concert will be at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 18, in the university's Free Speech Area, which is located among the trees between the Wright Music Building and the student center. The annual outdoor series is directed by Dr. Brad Meyer, director of percussion studies at SFA.

"Written for nine to 99 players, 'Inuksuit' is a piece that was created in order to explore a specific space, typically a large outdoor space," Meyer said. "Players will perform on a myriad instruments, including conch shells, sirens, tom-toms, bass drums, cymbals, gongs, glockenspiels, triangles and megaphones."

Adams explains that his music has "always been rooted in the earth." Over the past 35 years, he has composed works inspired by the outdoors, but heard indoors.

"Recently, after hearing 'Strange and Sacred Noise' performed in the Anza-Borrego desert, the New England woods, and the tundra of the Alaska Range, I wanted to create a large-scale work conceived specifically to be performed outside," Adams writes in his program notes.

"Inuksuit" was inspired by the stone sentinels constructed over the centuries by the Inuit in the windswept expanses of the Arctic. The word "Inuksuit" translates literally "to act in the capacity of the human," Adams said.

"This work is haunted by the vision of the melting of the polar ice, the rising of the seas, and what may remain of humanity's presence after the waters recede," he said.

"Inuksuit' is a concert-length work for percussion, in which the performers are widely dispersed and move throughout a large, open area. The listeners, too, may move around freely and discover their own individual listening points.

"This work is intended to expand our awareness of the never-ending music of the world in which we live, transforming seemingly empty space into a more fully experienced place," Adams said.

The performance at SFA will consist of about 30 performers, including 15 from SFA and 15 from regions across Texas. It will last a little over an hour, and spectators are encouraged to take pictures and walk around, Meyer said. If there is inclement weather, the performance will still take place (unless there is lightning), so Meyer encouraged participants to dress accordingly for the outdoors.

"Inuksuit" has been performed in New York City's Morningside Park and at the Park Avenue Armory, as well as many other outdoor venues throughout the U.S., Canada and Australia.

For more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit www.finearts.sfasu.edu.