Composer, conductor, and creative thinker John Adams occupies a unique position in the world of American 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.
Among Mr. Adams’s works are several of the most performed contemporary classical pieces today: Harmonielehre, Shaker Loops, Chamber Symphony, Doctor Atomic Symphony, Short Ride in a Fast Machine, and his Violin Concerto. His stage works, in collaboration with director Peter Sellars, include Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, El Niño, Doctor Atomic, A Flowering Tree, and the Passion oratorio The Gospel According to the Other Mary. His most recent opera, Girls of the Golden West, set during the 1850s California Gold Rush, was premiered by San Francisco Opera in 2017.
Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes? — written for pianist Yuja Wang, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Gustavo Dudamel — was premiered in 2019 and continues to tour this season, with performances in Edinburgh, London, New York, Paris, Amsterdam, St. Louis, and Seattle. Mr. Adams’s latest orchestral work, I Still Dance, written for Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, was premiered in San Francisco in September 2019 and tours to Amsterdam, New York, and London in March 2020.
In 2019 Mr. Adams received Holland’s prestigious Erasmus Prize, “for contributions to European culture,” the only American composer ever chosen for this award. He has received honorary doctorates from Harvard, Yale, Northwestern, and Cambridge universities and The Juilliard School. Since 2009 he has held the position of creative chair with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. A provocative writer, he is author of the acclaimed autobiography Hallelujah Junction and is a contributor to the New York Times Book Review.
As a conductor of his own works and a wide variety of repertoire, John Adams has appeared with the Berlin Philharmonic, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the London, Vienna, Seattle, Cincinnati, Atlanta, and Toronto symphony orchestras.