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John Adams

Photo credit: Christine Alicino
b. 1947


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John Adams has harnessed the rhythmic energy of Minimalism to the harmonies and orchestral colours of late-Romanticism * Brought contemporary history to the opera house with his post-modern operatic works Nixon in China (1987), The Death of Klinghoffer (1991), and Doctor Atomic (2005) * Has addressed urgent social issues with passion and empathy, both in his operas and in such works as I Was Looking at the Ceiling and then I Saw the Sky, El Dorado and The Wound-Dresser * His works are much favored by choreographers, with multiple ballet versions of Fearful Symmetries * Winner of the 1995 Grawemeyer Award for Violin Concerto * Series of recordings on the Nonesuch label * A recent survey shows him to be the most frequently performed living American composer of orchestral music.

Works by John Adams include:
Short Ride in a Fast Machine (1986) for orchestra
Violin Concerto (1993)
Son of Chamber Symphony (2007) for chamber ensemble
El Niño (1999–2000) for soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone, three counter-tenors, chorus, optional children's chorus and orchestra.
The Gospel According to the Other Mary (2011) for orchestra, chorus and soloists

John Adams is represented as a conductor worldwide by Jane Brown of Harrison Parrott.

Also visit the John Adams website at

Looking Ahead: John Adams's 70th birthday year is feted around the world during the 16–17 season. His homestate of California hosts a string of celebrations surrounding his birthdate in February, beginning with San Francisco Symphony's weeklong focus and followed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic' presentation of Nixon in China, conducted by the composer in early March. Additional anniversary highlights include a residency with the Berliner Philharmoniker; performances as conductor in London and France of Scheherazade.2 with the London Symphony Orchestra and violinist Leila Josefowicz; the BBC Symphony Orchestra performing Dr. Atomic in concert; and the St. Louis Symphony bringing The Gospel According to the Other Mary to Carnegie Hall. His new opera with librettist Peter Sellars, Girls of the Golden West, which is set during the 1850s California Gold Rush, will receive its world premiere at San Francisco Opera in fall 2017.
"Whenever serious art loses track of its roots in the vernacular, then it begins to atrophy." — John Adams

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