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Oberlin, OH—Sila: The Breath of the World

September 11, 2020 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

A live performance of John Adams’ “Sila: The Breath of the World” (2013) performed by Oberlin Conservatory students from the Brass and Percussion Departments, conducted by Timothy Weiss.

The performance will take place in Tappan Square on Friday, September 11th at 6:30 pm, with the musicians located throughout the park.

Conservatory staff will be on site to assist with social-distancing guidelines.

Program Note:

In Inuit tradition the spirit that animates all things is sila,
the breath of the world. Sila is the wind and the weather,
the forces of nature. But it’s something more. Sila is
intelligence. It’s consciousness. It’s our awareness of the
world around us, and the world’s awareness of us.
Over the past four decades most of my music has been
inspired by the outdoors, but heard indoors. With
Inuksuit – for nine to ninety-nine percussionists – I finally
composed music intended from the start to be
performed and heard outdoors. In Sila: The Breath of the
World I continue this exploration with a more orchestral
instrumental palette.

Listening to music indoors, we usually try to ignore the
outside world, focusing our listening on a limited range of
sounds. Listening outdoors, instead of concentrating our
attention we’re challenged to expand our attention to
encompass a multiplicity of sounds. We’re invited to
receive messages not only from the composer and the
performers, but also from the larger world around us.

—John Luther Adams

“Sila” was commissioned by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Washington Performing Arts, Ojai Festival, Cal Performances, and the La Jolla Symphony.


September 11, 2020
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
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