John Luther Adams was commissioned to create a new work by the Seattle Symphony. The result, inspired by the vast power and beauty of the Pacific Ocean, was the Pultizer Prize winning composition, Become Ocean.
"Life on this earth first emerged from the sea. As the polar ice melts and sea level rises, we humans find ourselves facing the prospect that once again we may quite literally become ocean.....Eventually we begin to realize that we’re part of something much larger than ourselves. embraces this idea, but gets its title from something much more personal for me. Back in the late ’70s, John Cage wrote a mesostic poem called “Many Happy Returns,” in honor of his dear friend—also my mentor and friend—Lou Harrison. He compares Lou’s music to a river in delta, with all these different influences and currents, coming together in a big beautiful sweep of music. And in the last line of the poem, Cage writes, “Listening to it, we become ocean.”