John Adams

American composer and conductor John Coolidge Adams was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on 15 February 1947 and studied at Harvard University.

Adams' well-known minimalist style as a composer first appeared in the 1977-78 piano work Phyrigian Gates and then in Shaker Loops for string septet. By the 1980s, with works such as Harmonium, Harmonielehre and Short Ride in a Fast Machine, his output had begun to attract wider attention.

He is also known for his operas, often based on recent historic events. The first of these is Nixon in China from 1987, which was the first of many collaborations with theatre director Peter Sellars. The foxtrot The Chairman Dances, from this opera, has become particularly well known.

His other operas include The Death of Klinghoffer (1991) and Doctor Atomic (2005).

 

A selection of articles about John Adams

Classical music news - Jess Gillam - The British saxophonist and her ensemble join Intermusica Artists' Management Ltd

Ensemble. Visits to the Doctor - Ron Bierman appreciates music by John Adams, Mozart and Rachmaninov from Ingrid Fliter, Edo de Waart and the San Diego Symphony

Classical music news. Obituary - Richard Taruskin (1945-2022)

Ensemble. Bright Spots - Mike Wheeler listens to Jess Gillam and the Hallé Orchestra conducted by Stephen Bell

Ensemble. Fit for Streaming? - Giuseppe Pennisi investigates various current and recent opera productions

Ensemble. Fierce Commitment - Gillian Moore talks about her book 'The Rite of Spring. The Music of Modernity' and then Philip Moore and Hugh Watkins play Stravinsky's 'Le Sacre du printemps', preceded by John Adams' 'Hallelujah Junction', all reviewed by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Collective Talent - Mike Wheeler marvels at The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain

Ensemble. A Different 'Gospel' - Giuseppe Pennisi explores the mesmerising aural world of John Adams

Ensemble. Intricately Tuneful - Giuseppe Pennisi reviews John Adams' opera 'I Was looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky'

Ensemble. Alleged Dances - Psappha at the Buxton Festival, reviewed by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. A Thunderous Send Off - John Adams and Peter Sellars' 'The Gospel According to the Other Mary' begins a European tour, and impresses Maria Nockin

Ensemble. Humour and Fizz - Eddie Daniels and the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kristjan Järvi, heard by Alice McVeigh

Ensemble. Exciting Teamwork - Roderic Dunnett was in Worcester for the 2011 Three Choirs Festival

CD Spotlight. A Sure Affinity - Jocelyn Swigger plays American piano music, and impresses Howard Smith. '... bold dissonances, conveyed with commanding assurance.'

Ensemble. Vigour and Brilliance - The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra plays Adams, Bernstein, Falla and Gershwin, heard by Mike Wheeler

Emphasis on Personalities - John Adams' 'Nixon in China', reviewed by Maria Nockin

Ensemble. Excellent Performance - Dudamel and the LA Philharmonic at the Movies, seen and heard by Maria Nockin

CD Spotlight. Subtle and Organic - Music by John Luther Adams, recommended by Malcolm Tattersall. '... vast silent landscapes ...'

Ensemble. A Cross Section - Bill Newman comments on some recent concerts at London's Wigmore Hall

Ensemble. A True Dynamo - Lawrence Budmen listens to French conductor Ludovic Morlot, in concert with Jennifer Koh and the New World Symphony

Ensemble. Invigorating Performance - Sinfonia Viva plays Judith Weir, heard by Mike Wheeler

CD Spotlight. Utterly Absorbing - A sampler from Cedille Records, enjoyed by Howard Smith. '... top quality standards.'

A Useful Survey - Thomas May's 'The John Adams Reader', reviewed by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Thought-provoking - John Adams' 'Dr Atomic' in London, reviewed by Robert Hugill

Ensemble. Fresh Energy - Sinfonia Viva begins its Mendelssohn celebrations, heard by Mike Wheeler

Record Box. An Evolving Technique - Music by Aaron Jay Kernis, recommended by Ron Bierman

Ensemble. Lyrical Structures - Pittsburgh celebrates its 250th birthday, by Kelly Ferjutz

CD Spotlight. Roadworthy - Modern American music for violin and piano, recommended by Howard Smith. '... commanding fire and finesse ...'

Warmth and Vigour - Mike Wheeler listens to a recital by the Adelfi Duo

Ensemble. Convincing and Moving - John Adams' 'Doctor Atomic' receives its first European performance, reviewed by Malcolm Miller

Ensemble. Fine Playing - The Czech National Symphony on tour, reviewed by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. A Mythic Story - 'Nixon in China', reviewed by Robert Hugill

Ensemble. A thrilling launch - 'Doctor Atomic' by John Adams, reviewed by Carson Cooman

CD Spotlight. A welcome introduction - Music by John Adams, reviewed by Robert Hugill. 'Alsop has a clear feel for this music ...'

Ensemble. Rule Britannia? - Gordon Rumson reports on New Works Calgary, Friday 13 September 2002

Ensemble - Naïve and Sentimental Music. Malcolm Miller attends the London première of John Adams' most recent and largest orchestral work