Composer, conductor, and creative thinker – JOHN ADAMS occupies a unique position in the world of music. His works stand out among contemporary classical compositions for their depth of expression, brilliance of sound, and the profoundly humanist nature of their themes. Works spanning more than three decades are among the most performed of all contemporary classical music, among them Harmonielehre, Shaker Loops, Violin Concerto, El Niño, Doctor Atomic Symphony, and Short Ride in a Fast Machine.
His stage works, all in collaboration with director Peter Sellars, have transformed the genre of contemporary music theater. Of Adams’ best-known opera, The New Yorker magazine wrote, “Not since Porgy and Bess has an American opera won such universal acclaim as Nixon in China.”
Scheherazade.2, Adams’ latest work, is a dramatic symphony for violin and orchestra written for Leila Josefowicz and premiered by the New York Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert. Among recent recordings are Absolute Jest with the San Francisco Symphony conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, and the Grammy-winning City Noir and Saxophone Concerto with the St. Louis Symphony under David Robertson.
As conductor, Adams leads the world’s major orchestras in programs that combine his own works with repertoire ranging from Beethoven and Mozart to Ives, Carter, Zappa, Glass, and Ellington. Conducting engagements in recent and coming seasons include the Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Wiener Symphoniker, and BBC Symphony, as well as the orchestras in Houston, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Seattle, Baltimore, and Madrid.
In 2017 Adams celebrates his seventieth birthday with festivals of his music in Europe and the US, including special retrospectives at London’s Barbican, at Cité de la Musique in Paris, and in Amsterdam, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
Born and raised in New England, Adams learned the clarinet from his father and played in marching bands and community orchestras during his formative years. He began composing at age ten and his first orchestral pieces were performed while he was just a teenager.
Adams has received honorary doctorates from Yale, Harvard, Northwestern, Cambridge, and the Juilliard School. A provocative writer, he is author of the highly acclaimed autobiography Hallelujah Junction and is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Book Review.
Adams is Creative Chair of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. His current project is an opera about the California Gold Rush.
The official John Adams website is earbox.com.