An interview with composer John Luther Adams by Conrad Winslow
As a Southcentral Alaskan kid in the early ’90s, I was unaware of the composer patiently crafting his strict and sensuous body of work 600 miles to the north, close to the Arctic Circle. In 2013, after living, studying and composing for a decade on the Eastern Seaboard, I co-founded a new music project in Southcentral Alaska, and have since presented and performed the music of John Luther Adams there and elsewhere. I spoke with the composer over the phone on September 13. Referring to our shared identity, he quoted an old friend: “There’s no such thing as a former Alaskan.”
VAN: I’m reaching you in New Mexico, right?
John Luther Adams: I like to say, “An undisclosed location in the Chihuahuan Desert.” We’re way down by the Mexican border.