John Adams

(b. 1947)

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(b Worcester, Mass., 1947).

Amer. composer, conductor, and clarinettist. Head, comp. dept., S. Francisco Cons. 1972–82. Comp.‐in‐res., S. Francisco SO 1979–85. One of composers known as minimalists, but his style has broadened and he has deliberately forged an eclectic idiom which borrows from most of the major 20th‐cent. composers and from jazz. Comps.:


Nixon in China


The Death of Klinghoffer


I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky

, mus. th. (1994–5);

El Niño


Dr Atomic


A Flowering Tree



Common Tones in Simple Time


Shaker Loops

, str. (1983);



Tromba lontana


Short Ride in a Fast Machine


The Chairman Dances


Fearful Symmetries


Eros Piano

, pf., orch. or chamber orch. (1989);

El Dorado

(1991); Chamber Symphony (1991); vn. conc. (1993);



Century Rolls

, pf., orch. (1996);

Naive and Sentimental Music


Guide to Strange Places


Dharma at Big Sur

, elec. vn., orch. (2003);

voice(s) & orch. or ens.:

Christian Zeal and Activity

, spkr. on tape., ens. (1973);


, 3 solo vv., instr., elec. (1975);


, ch., orch. (1980);

Grand Pianola Music

, 2 sop., 2 pf., small orch. (1981–2);

The Wound Dresser

, bar., orch. or chamber orch. (1988);

On the Transmigration of Souls

, orch., ch., children's ch., pre‐recorded soundtrack (2002).

chamber music:

pf. quintet (1970);

American Standard

, unspecified ens. (1973);

Shaker Loops

, str. septet (1978); Chamber Sym. (1992);

Road Movies

, vn., pf. (1995);

Gnarly Buttons

, cl., ens. (1996).




China Gates


Phrygian Gates


Hallelujah Junction

, 2 pf. (1996).

tape only:



Light Over Water


Hoodoo Zephyr


Subjects: Music.

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