John Adams is one the most highly respected contemporary composers. His style has its roots in Minimalism, and he is known for combining great rhythmic energy with orchestral colours that are more typical of late-Romanticism.
He is famous, amongst other things, for writing operas about contemporary history - for example: Nixon in China (about the significant meeting of US President Nixon with Chairman Mao in 1972) and The Death of Klinghoffer (an account of the 1985 Achille Lauro incident where Palestinian terrorists boarded an Italian cruise ship, held its passengers and crew hostage, and killed an elderly, wheelchair-bound American Jew).
Works by John Adams include:
Short Ride in a Fast Machine (1986) for orchestra
Violin Concerto (1993)
El Niño (1999-2000) for soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone, three counter-tenors, chorus, optional childrens' chorus and orchestra