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    Adams, John Coolidge (15th February 1947-Present)

    He is a composer born in Worcester, Massachusetts who was taught the clarinet by his father and played in community orchestras and marching bands while he was young.  He was a  graduate of Harvard University taught by Leon Kirchner, and during his time there was a conductor in the Harvard University Bach Society Orchestra as well as an occasional clarinetist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  He became a teacher at the San Francisco Conservatory prior to joining the San Francisco Symphony as contemporary music adviser and later as composer-in-residence.  Nixon in China was the first of his collaborations with the theatre director Peter Sellars and the poet Alice Goodman, and is possibly his best known opera which was premiered by the Houston Grand Opera and awarded the "Best Contemporary Composition" Grammy Award.  In 1993 he became Artist in Association for the BBC Symphony Orchestra and his comments on receiving the position were "the position is sufficiently unstructured and flexible to allow any number of wild things to happen."  Although his early works were looked at as minimalistic, his later showed some late-Romanticism.  His compositions cover opera, orchestral, chamber, ensemble and choral works, electronic compositions, film scores, piano pieces and arrangements and his better known ones include The Death of Klinghofer, Shaker Loops and Harmonium.   His awards include the Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, California Governor's Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts, the Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Letres from the French Ministry of Culture, a Fellowship of the Academy by the British Academy, the Cyril Magnin Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts and he is the recipient of 3 Grammy Awards.  He is currently composer-in-residence at Carnegie Hall and is wife is the photographer Deborah O'Grady and their children are Emily and Sam, all of which have appeared on at least one his recordings.

     

    Recordings

     

    Death of Klinghoffer, The (John Adams/Alice Goodman)

    Orchestra of the Opera Lyon

    Conductor - Kent Nagano

    NONE 79281

     

    Harmonielehre

    City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor - Simon Rattle - EMI 55051

     

    On the Transmigration of Souls

    New York Philharmonic

    New York Choral Artists

    Brooklyn Youth Chorus

    Conductor - Lorin Maazel

    Trumpet - Philip Smith

    Boy Soprano - Preben Antonson

    Chorus - Sam and Emily Adams

    Chorus - Ditsa Pines

    Chorus - Deborah L. O'Grady

    Chorus - Morgan Staples

    Nonesuch 79816

     

    Shaker Loops - Hymning Slews

    San Francisco Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor - Edo de Waart

    Philips 475 7551

     

    Short Ride in a Fast Machine

    City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor - Simon Rattle

    EMI CDC 5 55051 2

     

    Sources:

    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Coolidge_Adams#Life
    2. http://www.earbox.com/biography.html

     

     

     

     

     



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