Innovative 20-member band Alarm Will Sound presents “1969,” a multimedia experience that tells the story of great musicians — John Lennon, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Paul McCartney, Luciano Berio, Yoko Ono, and Leonard Bernstein — striving for new music and a new world amidst the turmoil of the late 1960s.

Presented by the Moss Arts Center, the performance will be held on Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the center’s Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall.

Almost 50 years ago, the Beatles and composer Karlheinz Stockhausen were fabled to have 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 “1969,” which uses an unconventional approach to tell the story of these artists through their own words, music, and images.

The evening will include performances of Stockhausen’s “Hymnen,” “Unfinished Music” by Lennon and Ono, Bernstein’s “Mass,” Berio’s “Sinfonia,” and “Revolution 9” from the Beatles.

According to Alan Pierson, artistic director for Alarm Will Sound, “Each of these works is intriguing and adventurous, and each aspires to push music in — what was at the time — a new direction. And that’s much of what this show is about: the aspirations, victories, and defeats of these fascinating artists at the close of the 1960s. In ‘1969’ these composers’ works and words are used — like Berio did in ‘Sinfonia’ — as material for creating something new, to tell the story of a remarkable moment in history.”

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. The ensemble has worked 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 is featured on nine recordings, including the most recent, “Splitting Adams,” a collaboration with the Peabody Award-winning podcast “Meet the Composer,” as well as the premiere recording of Steve Reich’s “Radio Rewrite.” The 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.

Ensemble members are committed to the education of young performers and composers and often participate in residency activities. During their visit to campus, four teams of Virginia Tech students will pitch their original ideas for innovative arts projects to Alarm Will Sound members, who will critique the projects, much like ABC’s program “Shark Tank.”


Tickets for the performance are $20-$45 for general public and $10 for students and youth 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center's box office, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.

Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Limited street parking is also available. Parking on Alumni Mall is free on weekdays after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Kacy McAllister at 540-231-5300 or email during regular business hours.

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