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John Luther Adams, a composer who this week was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music, will visit UT on Monday, April 21, as part of Earth Day celebrations in the community.

From 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., he will work with students during their rehearsal in Room 133 of the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center, 1741 Volunteer Boulevard.

At 6:00 p.m., Adams will present a lecture about his work, his compositions, and how they relate to his life as an environmental activist. It will be held in Room 109 of the UT Art and Architecture Building, 1715 Volunteer Boulevard.

Both the rehearsal and lecture are free and open to the public. The UT Percussion Ensemble and contemporary music organization Nief-Norf are hosting the events.

At 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22, the UT Percussion Ensemble and guests will perform Adams’ outdoor masterpiece “Inuksuit” for nine to 99 percussionists at Ijams Nature Center, 2915 Island Home Avenue. Admission is $20 per car and $10 per bike.

The performance will be directed by Andrew Bliss, UT assistant professor of percussion and Nief-Norf’s artistic director. Bliss was involved in the world and US premieres of “Inuksuit” in Banff, Alberta, and Greenville, South Carolina. He then traveled to New York City to perform the work in 2011, which ultimately led to his vision to bring “Inuksuit” to Knoxville.

A reception will follow with food and drink available for purchase.


Born in 1953, Adams grew up in the South and in the suburbs of New York City. In the mid-1970s he became active in the campaign for the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act and subsequently served as executive director of the Northern Alaska Environmental Center.

On Monday, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his recent orchestral work “Become Ocean.”

“Inuksuit” and Adams’s residency are supported by the Ijams Nature Center, UT Green Fee Committee, UT Percussion Studies Area, Nief-Norf, UT Department of Composition and Theory, UT Office of Sustainability, Professor Michael McKinney and the UT Department of Environmental Studies and Sustainability, UT Central Programming Council, Professor Cary Staples and the UT Department of Graphic Design, and UT’s SPEAK (Students Promoting Environmental Action in Knoxville) Committee.


Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,

Andrew Bliss (865-974-4882,