Stravinsky once spoke of the "violent Russian spring that seemed to begin in an hour and was like the whole earth cracking." The composer John Luther Adams, whom I profile in this week's New Yorker, quoted that line to me when he picked me up at the airport in Fairbanks; the Alaskan thaw had begun quite suddenly the previous day, and the snow was already half gone. Below are photos from my trip to Alaska last month.
The Museum of the North, a titanium-clad building on the grounds of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
The room dedicated to The Place Where You Go to Listen. For a very rough sense of what the music is like, see this slightly silly YouTube video. For more about the installation, read Kyle Gann's NewMusicBox article. The composer / programmer Jim Altieri assisted in the creation of the piece. Altieri happens to be performing twice in NYC on Thursday night: first, with composer-singer-songwriter Corey Dargel at Joe's Pub, on a bill with William Brittelle's mind-bending Mohair Timewarp; then at The Tank, with his improv ensemble Glissando Bin Laden.
Views from John Luther Adams's home outside Fairbanks.
Heading south on the Richardson Highway, we passed the cabin and outlying buildings where the poet John Haines lived in almost total isolation after the Second World War. Haines's book The Stars, the Snow, the Fire is a startlingly intense and vivid memoir of his time on the homestead.
A writing studio, constructed during a later stay in 1980s.
The oil flows through the snow.
Through Rainbow Pass.
Lake Louise at dusk.
Out on the lake in the white silence.
The composer inspecting his "cormorant isle."
The author confronts a blank page.
A bald eagle.
Views on the drive back to Fairbanks.
Gradually re-entering reality: North Pole, Alaska.