This year, Chicago cements its growing reputation as the place to go to hear John Luther Adams’s music. You won’t find it in any tourism guidebooks, and his oeuvre is not going to inspire tours such as the Gangland Chicago tours, but it’s true. Take a look at his calendar: 14 shows going back to February 2010, and four of them are in Chicago. That’s 29%. New York also has four, but that represents only four pieces in total. The first Chicago concert alone had three JLAs on it. Clearly, this is where it’s at.
This coming week is the exciting one on the Chicago-Symphony-Orchestra-side of things. Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden conducts the orchestral version of Dark Waves, but, wait, it gets better. Before each of the concerts, Amy Briggs and Daniel Schlossberg play the original two-piano version in the Grainger Ballroom. That’s two JLAs each night! The CSO is also taking JLA to Champaign-Urbana.
Next Thursday, JLA is interviewed by Alex Ross at Northwestern University as part of JLA’s winning the 2010 Nemmers Prize in Music Composition. So you can hear JLA talk himself.
UPDATE: Eighth blackbird is playing a JLA in January at the Museum of Contemporary Art. My apologies for excluding it. Details can be found here. Andrew Patner interviewed JLA last spring, and that hour-long interview can be found here (scroll down). On March 26, pianist Mabel Kwan of Ensemble Dal Niente is taking part in a JLA portrait concert at Northern Illinois University with JLA’s Four Thousand Holes. END UPDATE
The next big JLA events aren’t until February, when ICE settles into the Museum of Contemporary Art for In the White Silence (all to appropriate for a Chicago February) and The Mathematics of Resonant Bodies, with conductor/percussion-god Steven Schick.
I count eight JLAs this season.