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John Adams

Photo credit: Christine Alicino
b. 1947


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John Adams capitalizes on the rhythmic vitality of Minimalism for late-Romantic orchestral harmonies and colors * He brought contemporary history to opera with his post-modern theatrical works Nixon in China (1987), The Death of Klinghoffer (1991), and Doctor Atomic (2005) * He has tackled 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 preferred by choreographers, with multiple ballet versions of Fearful Symmetries * Winner of the Grawemeyer Award in 1995 by Violin Concerto * Series of recordings with the Nonesuch label * A recent survey places him as 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 orchestra
El Niño (1999-2000) for soprano, mezzo soprano, baritone, three tenors, choir, optional children's choir and orchestra.
The Gospel According to the Other Mary (2011) for orchestra, choir and soloists

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

Visit the John Adams website at

"Whenever serious art loses track of its roots in the vernacular, then it begins to atrophy."
- John Adams
Looking Ahead: In March, the National Symphony Orchestra and Gianandrea Noseda perform The Gospel According to the Other Mary at the Kennedy Center. In May, Mainfranken Theater Würzburg presents Nixon in China in the premiere of a new production, directed by Tomo Sugao. Santa Fe Opera presents Doctor Atomic, conducted by Matthew Aucoin, running this summer in July and August.
"Whenever serious art loses track of its roots in the vernacular, then it begins to atrophy." — John Adams

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