SFOpera - John Adams

John Adams

(Worcester, Massachusetts)

2017–18 Season: Composer of Girls of the Golden West

Composer, conductor, and creative thinker—John Adams occupies a unique position in the world of American music. His works, both operatic and symphonic, 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 have entered the repertoire and are among the most performed of all contemporary classical music, among them Harmonielehre, Shaker Loops, Chamber Symphony, Doctor Atomic Symphony, Short Ride in a Fast Machine, and his Violin Concerto. His stage works, all in collaboration with director Peter Sellars, include Nixon in China (1987), The Death of Klinghoffer (1991), El Niño (2000), Doctor Atomic (2005), A Flowering Tree (2006), and the Passion oratorio The Gospel According to the Other Mary (2012). Adams’s 70th birthday is feted around the world during the 2016–17 season, with anniversary highlights including residencies with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Orchestre de Lyon, and special programming focuses with the St. Louis Symphony, New York Philharmonic, LA Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Houston Opera, The Barbican, Philharmonie de Paris, and ZaterdagMatinee. Adams’s Violin Concerto won the 1993 Grawemeyer Award, and for composing On the Transmigration of Souls, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic to commemorate the first anniversary of 9/11, he received the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Music. He has received honorary doctorates from Harvard, Yale, Northwestern University, Cambridge University, the Juilliard School, and the University of London. A provocative writer, he is author of the highly acclaimed autobiography Hallelujah Junction and is a contributor to the New York Times Book Review. As a conductor, Adams appears with the world’s major orchestras in programs combining his own works with a wide variety of repertoire ranging from Beethoven and Mozart to Ives, Carter, Zappa, Glass, and Ellington. In recent seasons, he has conducted the Berliner Philharmoniker, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Wiener Symphoniker, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the orchestras of Seattle, Cincinnati, Atlanta, and Toronto. Adams is currently Creative Chair of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Recent recordings of his work include Scheherazade.2 with violinist Leila Josefowicz and St. Louis Symphony on Nonesuch Records, the Deutsche Grammophon release of The Gospel According to the Other Mary featuring the Los Angeles Philharmonic, City Noir and Saxophone Concerto with the St. Louis Symphony, the Grammy Award-winning album featuring Harmonielehre and Short Ride in a Fast Machine and the premiere recording of Absolute Jest paired with Grand Pianola Music, both with the San Francisco Symphony, and the Nonesuch DVD of the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Nixon in China conducted by the composer.