June 16, 1991 |
John Adams is home from the wars. A veteran of art's most grueling campaign--the creation of a contemporary opera--he has a wound to show for it: tendinitis in his right shoulder. He hurt himself by composing for more than 18 months, seven days a week, hour after hour, writing with pencil, 30 lines to the page, in a narrow upstairs room crowded with a grand piano, a bank of synthesizers, several samplers, a word processor, a printer and a tape recorder.
December 3, 2007 |
PALO ALTO -- John Adams' "Son of Chamber Symphony," which was given its premiere Friday night at Stanford University, is a chip off the old block. In his Chamber Symphony, Adams sassed Schoenberg. Fifteen years ago, he sat in his studio in Berkeley studying the German composer's Chamber Symphony -- a classic work from Schoenberg's early, atonal years -- while his 7-year-old son watched classic cartoons.
March 23, 1991 |
Press reaction is trickling in for Peter Sellars' "Death of Klinghoffer," which received its world premiere Tuesday in Brussels. In Europe, generally, the French-language press loved it, but the English and German publications did not. John Rockwell of the New York Times wrote that in the first act, "everything looked and sounded unsure," but in the second act "everything cohered into powerful drama."
January 25, 2007 |
JOHN ADAMS conducted two of his chamber concertos Tuesday night with the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group. A "Green Umbrella" concert, it was also an early 60th birthday party for the composer, in anticipation of Feb. 15. The performances weren't the best of either work that I've heard. "Grand Pianola Music," the boisterous two-piano concerto, was, in some regards, better played three nights earlier by the Pasadena Symphony.
January 23, 2007 |
John Adams will be 60 on Feb. 15. Although most days something by Adams is being performed somewhere, the calendar of upcoming concerts posted on the website of his publisher, Boosey & Hawkes, is blank for his birthday. That doesn't mean that America's most performed contemporary classical composer is being overlooked. On Sunday, Adams begins a short residency with the London Symphony Orchestra, which will include a European tour. A birthday festival, Feb.
November 19, 2001 |
Banned in Boston, John Adams found a gracious welcome in Glendale Saturday night. To be fair, the Boston Symphony probably would have loved to have one of the Adams works, "Shaker Loops" or "Fearful Symmetry," that he conducted Saturday night at the Alex Theatre. Controversy currently flairs in Boston because the orchestra hoped to replace upcoming performances of choruses from his opera about terrorism, "The Death of Klinghoffer," with something less thought-provoking.
January 23, 2002 |
The news of the past few days has not been encouraging for an American in London. Headlines have been dominated by British alarm over the American treatment of prisoners of war in Cuba. Rude editorial cartoons lambaste President Bush mercilessly. In a book published here this week, the archbishop of Wales, Rowan Williams, the likely next archbishop of Canterbury, labels the war in Afghanistan as responding to terrorism with terrorism.
September 1, 1991 |
When Alice Goodman, poet and librettist in Cambridge, faxed the words of a Palestinian terrorist's aria to John Adams, composer in Berkeley, Goodman believed the lyrics were just "pretty nasty." But Adams showed them to his Jewish neighbors, who thought they were "anti-Semitic." "John didn't think they would 'heal anything,' " Goodman said, but she refused to tone them down.
June 3, 1993 |
We can always count on the Ojai Festival, Ventura County's contribution to the international music scene, to deliver provocations and controversies. We can count on Ojai, one of the biggest little festivals in the world, to wrestle the music season to a close and grease the glide into summer. But not all festivals are created equal. Synchronicity doesn't get any better than this year's program: The stars align, the numbers speak, and the prospects quiver.
June 3, 2001 |
America's moment of global preeminence would be a fine time for a John Adams revival. Not only does the second president deserve the recognition he has rarely achieved but, strangely enough, much of what the man had to say can be addressed to our own generation, the feckless children of this wildly successful United States. We'd do well to listen to the cranky old New England prophet of limits and responsibility.