Composer Corner: Adams

February’s composer of the month is John Adams.


Born: Feb. 15, 1947


Five facts:

• Adams is widely considered to be the most-performed living American composer.
• Now and then, you can find Adams — a baseball fan — attending an Oakland A’s game.
• His 1985 work Harmonielehre was inspired by a dream of an oil tanker leaving San Francisco Bay, and by a theory-of-harmony book written by Arnold Schoenberg.
• The composer’s Chamber Symphony draws inspiration from Schoenberg, as well as Ren & Stimpy cartoons.
• He won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2003 for his work, On the Transmigration of Souls, which commemorated the attacks of September 11.


Three important works:

• Harmonielehre (1985)
• Short Ride in a Fast Machine (1986)
• Nixon in China (1987)


Audio Backpack playlist: John Adams

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