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

Biography

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 ...

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John Adams, BBC National Orchestra of Wales & Thomas Sondergard
Short Ride in a Fast Machine
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Short Ride in a Fast Machine Short Ride in a Fast Machine Short Ride in a Fast Machine Short Ride in a Fast Machine
John Adams, Edo de Waart & San Francisco Symphony
Short Ride in a Fast Machine
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Short Ride in a Fast Machine Short Ride in a Fast Machine Short Ride in a Fast Machine Short Ride in a Fast Machine
Michael Collins, John Adams, London Sinfonietta & Markus Stenz
Gnarly Buttons: Extract from Movt 2: Hoedown (Mad Cow)
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Gnarly Buttons: Extract from Movt 2: Hoedown (Mad Cow) Gnarly Buttons: Extract from Movt 2: Hoedown (Mad Cow) Gnarly Buttons: Extract from Movt 2: Hoedown (Mad Cow) Gnarly Buttons: Extract from Movt 2: Hoedown (Mad Cow)
John Adams, Marin Alsop & Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Short Ride in a Fast Machine
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Short Ride in a Fast Machine Short Ride in a Fast Machine Short Ride in a Fast Machine Short Ride in a Fast Machine
John Adams, Edo de Waart & San Francisco Symphony
Short ride in a fast machine for orchestra
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Short ride in a fast machine for orchestra Short ride in a fast machine for orchestra Short ride in a fast machine for orchestra Short ride in a fast machine for orchestra
John Adams, Yutaka Sado & BBC Philharmonic
The Chairman Dances
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The Chairman Dances The Chairman Dances The Chairman Dances The Chairman Dances
John Adams, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra & David Robertson
City noir for orchestra
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City noir for orchestra City noir for orchestra City noir for orchestra City noir for orchestra
John Adams, City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra & Sir Simon Rattle
The Chairman Dances
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The Chairman Dances The Chairman Dances The Chairman Dances The Chairman Dances
Ralph van Raat & John Adams
China Gates
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China Gates China Gates China Gates China Gates
John Adams & Gustavo Dudamel
And behold there was a great earthquake from The Gospel according to the Other Mary
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And behold there was a great earthquake from The Gospel according to the Other Mary And behold there was a great earthquake from The Gospel according to the Other Mary And behold there was a great earthquake from The Gospel according to the Other Mary And behold there was a great earthquake from The Gospel according to the Other Mary
John Adams, Marin Alsop & Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Short ride in a fast machine for orchestra
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Short ride in a fast machine for orchestra Short ride in a fast machine for orchestra Short ride in a fast machine for orchestra Short ride in a fast machine for orchestra
John Adams, City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra & Sir Simon Rattle
Short Ride in a Fast Machine
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Short Ride in a Fast Machine Short Ride in a Fast Machine Short Ride in a Fast Machine Short Ride in a Fast Machine
John Adams, Stéphane Denève & Sofia Radio Symphony Orchestra
Short Ride in a Fast Machine
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Short Ride in a Fast Machine Short Ride in a Fast Machine Short Ride in a Fast Machine Short Ride in a Fast Machine
John Adams, Edo de Waart, Chorus of St Luke’s & Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Nixon in China; Act 1 Scene 1 (opening)
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Nixon in China; Act 1 Scene 1 (opening) Nixon in China; Act 1 Scene 1 (opening) Nixon in China; Act 1 Scene 1 (opening) Nixon in China; Act 1 Scene 1 (opening)
Edo de Waart, John Adams & San Francisco Symphony
The Chairman dances - foxtrot [reworked from the opera 'Nixon in China']
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The Chairman dances - foxtrot [reworked from the opera 'Nixon in China'] The Chairman dances - foxtrot [reworked from the opera 'Nixon in China'] The Chairman dances - foxtrot [reworked from the opera 'Nixon in China'] The Chairman dances - foxtrot [reworked from the opera 'Nixon in China']
John Adams & Tracy Silverman (electric violin), BBC Symphony Orchestra, John Adams (conductor)
A New Day (The Dharma at Big Sur)
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A New Day (The Dharma at Big Sur) A New Day (The Dharma at Big Sur) A New Day (The Dharma at Big Sur) A New Day (The Dharma at Big Sur)
John Adams, London Sinfonietta & 武満徹
Waltz (Face of Another)
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Waltz (Face of Another) Waltz (Face of Another) Waltz (Face of Another) Waltz (Face of Another)
John Adams, Michael Tilson Thomas & San Francisco Symphony
Short ride in a fast machine for orchestra
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Short ride in a fast machine for orchestra Short ride in a fast machine for orchestra Short ride in a fast machine for orchestra Short ride in a fast machine for orchestra
Sir Simon Rattle, John Adams & City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Short ride in a fast machine for orchestra
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Short ride in a fast machine for orchestra Short ride in a fast machine for orchestra Short ride in a fast machine for orchestra Short ride in a fast machine for orchestra
John Adams, San Francisco Symphony & Edo de Waart
The Chairman Dance, Foxtrot for Orchestra
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The Chairman Dance, Foxtrot for Orchestra The Chairman Dance, Foxtrot for Orchestra The Chairman Dance, Foxtrot for Orchestra The Chairman Dance, Foxtrot for Orchestra
John Adams, BBC National Chorus of Wales, Grant Llewellyn, BBC National Orchestra of Wales & Bournemouth Symphony Chorus
Harmonium
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Harmonium Harmonium Harmonium Harmonium
John Adams, San Francisco Symphony & Edo de Waart
Two Fanfares for Orchestra: Tromba Lantana and Short Ride in a Fast Machine
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Two Fanfares for Orchestra: Tromba Lantana and Short Ride in a Fast Machine Two Fanfares for Orchestra: Tromba Lantana and Short Ride in a Fast Machine Two Fanfares for Orchestra: Tromba Lantana and Short Ride in a Fast Machine Two Fanfares for Orchestra: Tromba Lantana and Short Ride in a Fast Machine
John Adams, San Francisco Symphony & Edo de Waart
Tromba Lantana; Short Ride in a Fast Machine
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Tromba Lantana; Short Ride in a Fast Machine Tromba Lantana; Short Ride in a Fast Machine Tromba Lantana; Short Ride in a Fast Machine Tromba Lantana; Short Ride in a Fast Machine
Edo de Waart, John Adams & San Francisco Symphony
Chairman Dances
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Chairman Dances Chairman Dances Chairman Dances Chairman Dances
John Adams, BBC Symphony Orchestra & Edward Gardner
Harmonium
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Harmonium Harmonium Harmonium Harmonium
John Adams
Mother of Man
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Mother of Man Mother of Man Mother of Man Mother of Man
John Adams, Kent Nagano, London Opera Chorus & Lyon Opera Orchestra
Scene 2, Day Chorus from The Death of Klinghoffer
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Scene 2, Day Chorus from The Death of Klinghoffer Scene 2, Day Chorus from The Death of Klinghoffer Scene 2, Day Chorus from The Death of Klinghoffer Scene 2, Day Chorus from The Death of Klinghoffer
John Adams, BBC Philharmonic & Gianandrea Noseda
Short Ride in a Fast Machine
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Short Ride in a Fast Machine Short Ride in a Fast Machine Short Ride in a Fast Machine Short Ride in a Fast Machine
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Biography

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

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