John Adams

Born and raised in New England, John Adams was exposed to both classical and jazz music from an early age. After graduating from Harvard during the tumultuous period of the late sixties he moved to San Francisco and has lived in northern California ever since. Adams’ music, rooted in the driving pulses and emotional directness of American popular music, was instrumental in a historical shift of style away from the cool abstractions of dissonant Modernism that had come to dominate contemporary music during the latter half of the twentieth century. As a composer of richly scored and expressive symphonic works (Harmonium, Harmonielehre, Shaker Loops, Naive and Sentimental Music) and creator of some of the most controversial and successful operas in recent memory (Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, El Niño, Doctor Atomic), he has established a compelling new voice for contemporary music in our time. Adams is a musical polymath, active in all areas of his art. In addition to conducting the world’s major symphony orchestras, conceiving and curating highly successful international festivals and composing large-scale soundscapes of electronic and instrumental music, he is also one of our most incisive commentators on the state of contemporary culture and the arts.