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Alarm Will Sound

New York, NY            

Alarm Will Sound is a 20-member band committed to innovative performances and recordings of today’s music. With an established reputation for performing demanding music with energetic skill, our performances have been described as “equal parts exuberance, nonchalance, and virtuosity” by the Financial Times of London and as “a triumph of ensemble playing” by the San Francisco Chronicle. The New York Times says that Alarm Will Sound is “one of the most vital and original ensembles on the American music scene.”

Alarm Will Sound’s mission is to move contemporary music towards the center of our culture by innovating the classical tradition. We create performing-arts experiences that use music, staging, video, dance, and storytelling in order to engage growing and diverse audiences.

Alarm Will Sound’s commitment to performing, commissioning, and recording new music is rare for a large ensemble. Rarer still for a classical chamber orchestra, our organizational culture and infrastructure are built on the shared vision of our 20 artist-members who are directly involved in all decisions. We are recognized as leaders in our field because the artistic choices we make — driven by the skill and curiosity of each individual member — continually push us and our audiences toward innovation. Such innovation shows up in the variety of ways we engage our audiences: through cross-pollination between different styles and genres; through staging that incorporates multimedia elements and collaborative contributions from writers, directors, choreographers, and videographers; and through storytelling that connects music, history, and ideas in ways that deepen our work’s cultural impact.

Alarm Will Sound is the resident ensemble at the Mizzou International Composers Festival. Held each July at the University of Missouri in Columbia, the festival features eight world premieres by early-career composers. During the weeklong festival, these composers work closely with Alarm Will Sound and two established guest composers to perform and record their new work.

Alarm Will Sound may be heard on thirteen recordings, including our most recent, Omnisphere, with jazz trio Medeski Martin & Wood; a collaboration with Peabody Award-winning podcast Meet the Composer titled Splitting Adams; and the premiere recording of Steve Reich’s Radio Rewrite. Our genre-bending, critically acclaimed Acoustica features live-performance arrangements of music by electronica guru Aphex Twin. This unique project taps the diverse talents within the group, from the many composers who made arrangements of the original tracks, to the experimental approaches developed by the performers.  

Alarm Will Sound has been presented by Carnegie Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center, (le) Poisson Rouge, Miller Theatre, the Kitchen, the Bang on a Can Marathon, Disney Hall, Kimmel Center, Library of Congress, the Walker Arts Center, Cal Performances, Stanford Lively Arts, Duke Performances, and the Warhol Museum. International tours include the Holland Festival, Sacrum Profanum, Moscow’s Art November, St. Petersburg’s Pro Arte Festival, and the Barbican.

“Try” – Andrew Norman

Composer Andrew Norman’s “Try” performed by Alarm Will Sound at the July 2015
Mizzou International Composers Festival

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“Keening” from “The Hunger”

Commissioned and performed by Alarm Will Sound, Donnacha Dennehy’s “The Hunger” features Katherine Manley, soprano, and Iarla Ó Lionáird, sean nós singer. The keen that appears in “The Hunger” is based on Cití Ní Ghallachóir’s astonishing and renowned rendition in this tradition. While the melody is based on a traditional song, the words were composed by her. Words for the keen used with the kind permission of Cití Ní Ghallachóir.
Alarm Will Sound’s recording of “The Hunger” was released on Nonesuch Records in August 2019.

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Alarm Will Sound/Dance Heginbotham: “Twinned”

In this site-specific performance created for The Charles Engelhard Court, Alarm Will Sound and Dance Heginbotham pair movement with the music of Tyondai Braxton, Aphex Twin, Edgard Varèse, and Raymond Scott. Performed in February 2014.

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