CAP UCLA Presents
Alarm Will Sound: 1969
West Coast Premiere
Starring Jon Patrick Walker as John Lennon
January 27 at Royce Hall
“Hearing impossible electronic collages like Stockhausen’s ‘Hymnen’ and the
Beatles’ ‘Revolution 9’ rendered by live musicians was a consistent wonder.”
—The New York Times
UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA) presents the West Coast premiere of contemporary music ensemble Alarm Will Sound’s multimedia musical event 1969, about a fabled meeting between avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen and iconoclastic Beatle John Lennon, at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27 at Royce Hall. Tickets for $29–$59 are now available online at cap.ucla.edu, via Ticketmaster, by phone 310-825-2101 and at the UCLA Central Ticket Office.
1969 is both a concert and a work of theater. Conducted by Alan Pierson, the 20-member band will be joined by three actors: Jon Patrick Walker as John Lennon, who is currently playing King George in the second national tour of Hamilton; Robert Stanton as Karlheinz Stockhausen and David Chandler as Italian composer Luciano Berio.
“The more I learned about the year 1969, the more the Stockhausen-Beatles meeting seemed to resonate with the ideas and spirit of the time,” said Pierson, artistic director of Alarm Will Sound. “To tell its story, I imagined a unique multimedia piece that would juxtapose the artists’ own words with fragments of music, images, and film from the period.”
Nearly 50 years ago on Feb. 9, 1969, the Beatles and composer Karlheinz Stockhausen arranged to meet in New York City to plan a joint concert. No such performance would ever take place. But its tantalizing promise is the departure point for Alarm Will Sound’s 1969. Told through their own words, music, and images, 1969 is the story of great musicians — John Lennon, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Paul McCartney, Luciano Berio, Yoko Ono, and Leonard Bernstein — striving for a new music and a new world amidst the social and political ferment of the late 1960s.
As archival video and photographs are projected around the stage, the members of the ensemble play their instruments, sing and voice the words of the composers and others in their circle, woven together to tell the story of how these artists galvanized one another and responded through their music to the momentous events of the day: the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, the Vietnam War, the riots at the 1968 Democratic Convention, the election of Richard Nixon. All of the artists suffered critically for their efforts, and yet, in the end, they would transform music and transcend their time.
“When I tell you that 1969, an evening of music, video and theater based on the prospect that John Lennon and iconoclastic German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen planned to stage a concert together, was fantastic, I mean it in all senses of the word,” raved Kevin Berger of the Los Angeles Times. “They exploded musical genres, made history come alive and demonstrated that art — original, vivid, reckless — can lift the grim clouds of current events, if only for two hours,”
Alarm Will Sound is committed to innovative performances and recordings of today’s music. The versatility of the group allows it to take on music from a wide variety of styles ranging from the arch-modernist to the pop-influenced.
Funds provided by the Henry Mancini Tribute Fund.
CAP UCLA’s upcoming Contemporary Classical programs include Kronos Quartet, Rinde Eckert and Vân-Ánh Võ: My Lai (March 9, Royce Hall), and Eighth Blackbird featuring Will Oldham (Bonnie “Prince” Billy) (April 21, The Theatre at Ace Hotel).
CALENDAR EDITORS, PLEASE NOTE:
CAP UCLA presents
Alarm Will Sound
Saturday, Jan. 27 at 8 p.m.
Royce Hall, UCLA
Program: One of the most original ensembles on the American music scene today, Alarm Will Sound’s 1969 is a multimedia production that traces the compelling story of an exceptional group of musicians who were striving to forge new forms of art amidst the turmoil of the late 1960s. Described by The New York Times as “the soundtrack to a collaboration that never was,” 1969 is based on a fabled meeting between avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen and Beatle John Lennon. The wildly imaginative fantasy intertwines the music of the Beatles, Stockhausen, Leonard Bernstein, Yoko Ono and Italian composer Luciano Berio with dialogue based on interviews, letters and journals by Igor Stravinsky, Broadway producer Harold Prince, activist Daniel Berrigan, former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and others, against a backdrop of photographs that vividly reflect the sound and fury of the artistic and social upheavals of that era.
Single tickets: $29–$59
UCLA Central Ticket Office: 310-825-2101, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Royce Hall box office: open 90 minutes prior to the event start time.
CAP UCLA Art in Action: Hearing Beyond Listening: the sounds of the sixties
A pop-up library and exhibit in the West Lobby will feature books and items from UCLA Library Special Collections that have particular relevance to the late sixties. Artist-curated playlists from Alarm Will Sound will be available in the CAP Listening Lab.
Personnel (in order of appearance)
Jon Patrick Walker: “John Lennon”
Robert Stanton: “Karlheinz Stockhausen”
David Chandler: “Luciano Berio”
Miles Brown: “Harold Spivacke,” bass, electric bass
Erin Lesser: “reporter,” flute, vocals
Michael Harley: “Leonard Bernstein,” bassoon, vocals
Michael Clayville: “Hunter S. Thompson,” “Lukas Foss,” trombone, vocals
Caleb Burhans: “Igor Stravinsky,” violin
Stefan Freund: “Paul McCartney,” “Hal Prince,” cello, vocals
Elisabeth Stimpert: “Yoko Ono,” clarinets, vocals
Tim Leopold: “Father Daniel Berrigan,” trumpet, crackle box
Karisa Antonio: “Jacqueline Kennedy,” “Lester Bangs,” “Mrs. Lukas Foss,” oboe, vocals
Matt Marks: “Maurice Peress,” horn, glockenspiel, vocals
Chris Thompson: “Stephen Sondheim,” percussion, keyboard
Courtney Orlando: violin, keyboard, vocals
Matt Smallcomb: “Harold Schonberg,” percussion
John Orfe: “Donal Henahan,” keyboards
Hideaki Aomori: “Kenneth Auchinclass,” clarinets
Isabel Hagen: viola, vocals
Gavin Chuck: vocals
Alan Pierson: conductor, guitar, vocals
Artist links: Alarm Will Sound | 1969 performance excerpt
ABOUT ALARM WILL SOUND
Alarm Will Sound is a 20-member band committed to innovative performances and recordings of today’s music. They have established a reputation for performing demanding music with energetic skill. Their 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.”
The versatility of Alarm Will Sound allows it to take on music from a wide variety of styles. Its repertoire ranges from European to American works, from the arch-modernist to the pop-influenced. Alarm Will Sound has been associated since its inception with composers at the forefront of contemporary music, premiering pieces by John Adams, Steve Reich, David Lang, Michael Gordon, Aaron Jay Kernis, Augusta Read Thomas, Derek Bermel, Benedict Mason, and Wolfgang Rihm, among others. The group itself includes many composer-performers, which allows for an unusual degree of insight into the creation and performance of new work.
Alarm Will Sound may be heard on nine recordings, including their most recent, Splitting Adams, a collaboration with Meet the Composer, a Peabody Award-winning podcast, as well as 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, 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.
ABOUT CAP UCLA
UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA) is dedicated to the advancement of the contemporary performing arts in all disciplines — dance, music, spoken word and theater, as well as emerging digital, collaborative and cross-platforms — by leading artists from around the globe. Part of UCLA’s School of the Arts and Architecture, CAP UCLA curates and facilitates direct exposure to artists who are creating extraordinary works of art and fosters a vibrant learning community both on and off the UCLA campus. The organization invests in the creative process by providing artists with financial backing and time to experiment and expand their practices through strategic partnerships and collaborations. As an influential voice within the local, national and global arts communities, CAP UCLA connects this generation to the next in order to preserve a living archive of our culture. CAP UCLA is also a safe harbor where cultural expression and artistic exploration can thrive, giving audiences the opportunity to experience real life through characters and stories on stage, and giving artists an avenue to challenge assumptions and advance new ways of seeing and understanding the world we live in now.