John Adams
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1947-02-15
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/94f46f90-f220-458d-acd6-5f14c55ab9b2

John Adams Biography (BBC)

Born in 1947 in Massachusetts, John Adams is 10 years younger than Steve Reich and Philip Glass, with whom he is often classified as a Minimalist. His success has much to do with an espousal of modality and regular pulse – musical elements reintroduced by the Minimalists in reaction to much modernist music. Yet Adams’s approach since the late 1970s emphasises two things that early Minimalism is generally said to have rejected. One is direct emotional expression; the other concerns allusions to, and even direct quotations from, other musics. Adams himself has described his development as an alternation between ‘two opposing polarities: along with every dark, introspective, “serious” piece there must come the Trickster, the garish, ironic wild card that threatens to lose me whatever friends the previous composition might have gained’. Thus Harmonium (1981), settings of John Donne and Emily Dickinson, was followed by Grand Pianola Music (1982).

Allusion and quotation played an increasing role in Adams’s output from 1978 – when Shaker Loops drew on the spiritual ecstasy of America’s 18th-century fundamentalist movement – up to the late-1980s works Nixon in China and Fearful Symmetries. Since then, such references have generally been less overt, though the Chamber Symphony (1992) alludes both to Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony No. 1 and to American cartoons.

With Nixon in China, his first opera (1987), Adams achieved international fame. The director Peter Sellars, librettist Alice Goodman and the choreographer Mark Morris were integral both to this project and to his next opera, The Death of Klinghoffer (1991), based on the 1985 hijacking of a cruise-liner. An event from recent history – the 1994 Los Angeles earthquake – was likewise the starting point for the ‘songplay’ I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky (1995). By contrast, El Niño (2000) is a ‘Nativity oratorio’ featuring film as well as stage action. Adams’s most recent operatic collaborations with Sellars are Doctor Atomic (2005) and A Flowering Tree (2006), both seen in London during the past two years. The Doctor Atomic Symphony, extensively recasting and extending the opera, was premiered at the 2007 BBC Proms. Adams’s works include Son of Chamber Symphony (2007), also choreographed for San Francisco Ballet by Mark Morris, and City Noir (2009).

In 1995 the composer received the Grawemeyer Award for his Violin Concerto. In 2003, the year in which he became Artist-in- Association with the BBC SO, his On the Transmigration of Souls, written for the first anniversary of 9/11, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

Profile by Keith Potter © BBC

John Adams Biography (Wikipedia)

John Coolidge Adams (born February 15, 1947) is an American composer of classical music and opera, with strong roots in minimalism.

His works include Harmonielehre (1985), Short Ride in a Fast Machine (1986), On the Transmigration of Souls (2002), a choral piece commemorating the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks (for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2003), and Shaker Loops (1978), a minimalist four-movement work for strings.

His operas include Nixon in China (1987), which recounts Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to China, and Doctor Atomic (2005), which covers Robert Oppenheimer, the Manhattan Project, and the building of the first atomic bomb.

The Death of Klinghoffer is an opera for which he wrote the music, based on the hijacking of the passenger liner Achille Lauro by the Palestine Liberation Front in 1985, and the hijackers' murder of wheelchair-bound 69-year-old Jewish-American passenger Leon Klinghoffer. The opera has drawn controversy, including allegations by some (including Klinghoffer's two daughters) that the opera is antisemitic and glorifies terrorism. The work's creators and others have disputed these criticisms.

This entry is from Wikipedia, the user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors and is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License. If you find the biography content factually incorrect or highly offensive you can edit this article at Wikipedia. Find out more about our use of this data.

John Adams Performances & Interviews


John Adams Tracks

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John Adams
Roadrunner (Chamber Symphony)
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Roadrunner (Chamber Symphony)
Toru Takemitsu
'Music of Training and Rest' from the film 'Jose Torrés'
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'Music of Training and Rest' from the film 'Jose Torrés'
John Adams
Grand Pianola Music (Part II 'On the dominant divide')
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Grand Pianola Music (Part II 'On the dominant divide')
John Adams
Absolute Jest (II Presto)
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Absolute Jest (II Presto)
John Adams
Lollapalooza
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Lollapalooza
John Adams
Phrygian Gates (extract)
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Phrygian Gates (extract)
Toru Takemitsu
Waltz (Face of Another)
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Waltz (Face of Another)
Leonard Rosenman
East Of Eden (1955) - Main Title
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East Of Eden (1955) - Main Title
John Adams
Nixon in China: opening
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Nixon in China: opening
John Adams, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra & Marin Alsop
I. Shaking and Trembling (Shaker Loops)
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I. Shaking and Trembling (Shaker Loops)
John Adams
Violin Concerto
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Violin Concerto
John Adams, Chloë Hanslip, BBC National Orchestra of Wales & Eric Stern
The Dharma at Big Sur for electric violin and orchestra
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The Dharma at Big Sur for electric violin and orchestra
Leonard Rosenman
Rebel Without a Cause (Main title; The Planetarium; The Hunt; Finale)
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Rebel Without a Cause (Main title; The Planetarium; The Hunt; Finale)
John Adams
American Standard - Christian Zeal And Activity
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American Standard - Christian Zeal And Activity
John Adams
Shaker Loops (Shaking and Trembling)
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Shaker Loops (Shaking and Trembling)
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Playlists featuring John Adams


Upcoming BBC Events

BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus 2016-17 season: John Adams conducts Doctor Atomic
http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/e4rfxj
Barbican, London
2017-04-25T13:07:33
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Past BBC Events

Proms 2012: Prom 72: John Adams – Nixon in China
http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/egjfxj
Royal Albert Hall
2012-09-05T13:07:33
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5
Sep
2012
Proms 2012: Prom 72: John Adams – Nixon in China

Proms 2012: Prom 72: John Adams – Nixon in China

19:00
Royal Albert Hall
Proms 2012: Prom 4: Respighi, Ravel and Adams
http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/e5gc8g
Royal Albert Hall
2012-07-16T13:07:33
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16
Jul
2012
Proms 2012: Prom 4: Respighi, Ravel and Adams

Proms 2012: Prom 4: Respighi, Ravel and Adams

19:30
Royal Albert Hall
Proms 2007: Prom 50
http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/eh9c8g
Royal Albert Hall
2007-08-21T13:07:33
21
Aug
2007

Proms 2007: Prom 50

19:30
Royal Albert Hall
Proms 2007: Prom 47
http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/eg6rzc
Royal Albert Hall
2007-08-18T13:07:33
18
Aug
2007

Proms 2007: Prom 47

22:15
Royal Albert Hall
Proms 2006: Prom 38
http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/ewp9rz
Royal Albert Hall
2006-08-11T13:07:33
11
Aug
2006

Proms 2006: Prom 38

19:30
Royal Albert Hall

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