2020 Composer-in-Residence: John Adams
World-renowned composer John Adams will be making a rare Festival appearance with the Festival in July to conduct and discuss his music with all of us. The opportunity to have a living legend join us, especially in such an interactive and personal capacity, is uniquely wonderful and special.
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 Nixon in China, Harmonielehre, Doctor Atomic, Shaker Loops, El Niño, Short Ride in a Fast Machine and The Dharma at Big Sur.
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’.”
Nonesuch Records has recorded all of Adams’ music over the past three decades, with numerous Grammy awards among them. A new recording of the complete Doctor Atomic, with Adams conducting the BBC Symphony, was released in July 2018, timed to coincide with the Santa Fe Opera’s new production.
As conductor, Adams leads the world’s major orchestras in repertoire that from Beethoven and Mozart to Stravinsky, Ives, Carter, Zappa, Glass and Ellington. Conducting engagements in recent and coming seasons include the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, the Cleveland Orchestra Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Wiener Symphoniker and BBC Symphony. He leads Rome’s Orchestra of Santa Cecilia in his oratorio The Gospel According to the Other Mary in October 2018.
A new piano concerto called Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes? will be premiere by Yuja Wang in March of 2019 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel. The same month the Dutch National Opera will present the European premiere of Adams 2017 opera about the California Gold Rush, Girls of the Golden West.
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 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.
The official John Adams website is www.earbox.com.