When you find yourself grappling for analogies that probably means you are lucky enough to be experiencing something unique.
Presented by Miller Theatre, Inuksuit – the brilliant work by John Luther Adams – was performed by 99 percussionists as part of Make Music New York. It seemed like a summertime outdoor performance/public art/ audience participation piece (whether they knew it or not).
Staged in places throughout Morningside Park, the instrumentation, timbres and performers changed around you as you walked through the park; in one section gongs and cymbals, in another gentle bells. Each audience member, from adults to little babies, watched in wonder as instruments boldly struck or faded slowly in and out of perception.
An East Asian concept (later adapted by John Cage) is that all the sounds taking place during the performance are part of the musical piece. This concept was never more clear that during Inuksuit, as some of the performers played their sirens, followed by an ambulance driving past the park playing its sirens.
If you missed it, there are several great videos on YouTube where you can get a sense of the performance:
Eleanor Milburn ‘06CC, ‘13SIPA