Overview

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.:

operas:

Nixon in China

(1984–7);

The Death of Klinghoffer

(1990–1);

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

, mus. th. (1994–5);

El Niño

(1999–2000);

Dr Atomic

(2004–5);

A Flowering Tree

(2006).

orch.:

Common Tones in Simple Time

(1980);

Shaker Loops

, str. (1983);

Harmonielehre

(1984–5);

Tromba lontana

(1986);

Short Ride in a Fast Machine

(1986);

The Chairman Dances

(1987);

Fearful Symmetries

(1988);

Eros Piano

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

El Dorado

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

Lollapalooza

(1995);

Century Rolls

, pf., orch. (1996);

Naive and Sentimental Music

(1997–8);

Guide to Strange Places

(2001);

Dharma at Big Sur

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

voice(s) & orch. or ens.:

Christian Zeal and Activity

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

Grounding

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

Harmonium

, 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).

piano:

Ragamarole

(1973);

China Gates

(1977);

Phrygian Gates

(1977);

Hallelujah Junction

, 2 pf. (1996).

tape only:

Onyx

(1975);

Light Over Water

(1983);

Hoodoo Zephyr

(1992–3).

Subjects: Music.


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