Silences So Deep

Silences So Deep: Music, Solitude, Alaska

(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

A memoir of a composer’s life in the Alaskan wilderness and a meditation on making art in a landscape acutely threatened by climate change

Learn more…


The Place Where You Go to Listen
(In Search of An Ecology of Music)


“Adams writes in clear, descriptive and accessible English, and is an engaging story-teller to boot.” –  Jed Distler, Gramophone

“This is an excellent read for anyone interested in art and nature, the increasingly detailed and sophisticated integration of the “Cageian” aesthetic into visionary new music, and the creative uses of technology for grandly ambitious purposes.” –  Robert Carl, Fanfare



Winter Music is a collection of essays, journals and other writings by John Luther Adams. The book includes a CD with three previously unrecorded works.

“Adams’ writing is clear and bright and lucid; it fascinates and illumines. This is the best music book I’ve read for a long time.” –  Rupert Loydell, Tangents

“Like the composer’s best music, the statement continues to resonate long after the work itself is finished.” –  Ken Smith, The Gramophone

“This book is a testament to the awesome spiritual and creative power of nature, and of how Adams has borne witness to this in his artistic life.” – Stephanie Moore, Musicworks

“Adams writes like a poet; his words evocating the same spare landscape that he captures in his music…”– Sequenza 21

“…its implications extend far beyond the institutionalized realm of avant-garde music…” – Daniel M. Grimley, Music and Letters

“… this intrepid composer’s deep knowledge of the North… and his unusual articulacy … make the fascinating Winter Music … well worth a tenderfoot’s explanation.” – Ann Stapleton, New Pages

The Story He Will Never Write
Remembering Barry Lopez
Harper’s, January 11, 2021

‘I want my art to matter. I want it to be of use’
The Pulitzer-winning composer explains why he chose music over activism, and how his concern over the future only raises the stakes.
The Guardian, October 30, 2018

Places and Moments
In these nine brief prose poems by John Luther Adams, each read by a different employee of New York Public Radio and scored to his music, we see a different side of Adams’s creativity, but one, like his music, still potent and full of myriad variations.
New Sounds, September 24, 2018

In the Name of the Earth
JLA discusses the inspiration behind his August 11, 2018, Mostly Mozart world premiere.

The End of Winter
“For me, as for so many others, Alaska had been the geography of hope. Now it’s become one of the most threatened parts of this increasingly threatened Earth.”
The New Yorker, March 27, 2018

Becoming Desert
After almost 40 years, I left Alaska. In barrenness, I found new music.
Slate, March 1, 2018

Leaving Alaska
The New Yorker, June 17, 2015

Music in the Anthropocene
Slate, February 24, 2015

(In memory of Gordon Wright)

The Place Where You Go to Listen
“They say that she heard things.”

In Search of An Ecology of Music
“…music can provide a sounding model for the renewal of human consciousness and culture.”

Global Warming and Art
“What is the value of art in a world on the verge of melting?”

Winter Music
A composer’s journal.(1998-1999)

Strange and Sacred Noise
 “The strange power of noise can open doorways to the ecstatic.”

Clouds of Forgetting, Clouds of Unknowing
 “The universe is more like music than matter.”