The week before Doctor Atomic opens at the Metropolitan Opera, composer John Adams reflects on the relationship between words and music in a conversation with Ara Guzelimian, dean of the Juilliard School. Throughout his career, Adams has drawn on literary sources ranging from the Bible to Jack Kerouac; Doctor Atomic incorporates Baudelaire, the Bhagavad Gita and declassified documents from the Manhattan Project. His new memoir is Hallelujah Junction: Composing an American Life.
John Adams' Short Ride in a Fast Machine performned by the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble, led by Jeffrey Means.
John Adams's first opera Nixon In China, produced by Peter Sellars, with libretto by Alice Goodman, about the visit of Richard Nixon to China in 1972, where he met with Mao Zedong and other Chinese officials.
Sepp Grotenhuis & Gerard Bouwhuis (Pianos), Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra / Edo de Waart
Ernst Kovacic (violin) Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra / Edo de Waart
One of America's most admired and frequently performed composers, John Adams also regularly conducts his work with the world's finest orchestras and ensembles. In A Precise Process, Adams leads a rehearsal of his acclaimed 1978 chamber piece, Shaker Loops, and shares his insights into the creative processes and demands of composition and performance.
“What a wonderful book! Entertaining, touching and revealing. Like Berlioz’s memoirs, it gives us a glimpse into the life and times of a great composer. Not to be missed.” —Emanuel Ax
“John Adams’s memoir is elegant, hilarious, humble, sophisticated, touching, and enormously enlightening about a whole era. It is a remarkable demystification of what it means to be a composer. Adams is a philosopher/craftsman, attempting to reflect and render the truth as he observes and feels it, in all its complexity and its simplicity. His book is a testimony that is equally emotional and intellectual, refreshing and comprehensible to anyone who has ever built or created something with care and attention, whether it be a piece of music, a table, a business, or a family.” —Derek Bermel
“Hallelujah Junction is one of the best and most important composer autobiographies next to those of Berlioz and Wagner. A fascinating picture of John Adams the man unfolds with the same directness, precision, and passion as his music. What impresses me most is the sense of absolute honesty in the narrative: a quality exceedingly rare in composers’ writings about themselves and their work.” —Esa-Pekka Salonen, Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic
“John Adams’s memoir is exuberant, opinionated, and vastly informative. Like a renegade tour guide, he takes us on several trips at once. In recounting his own story, he shows us the inner workings of his own creative process and simultaneously illuminates the recent history of music-making. His learned, witty, self-mocking voice is both subjective and objective, telling us all about him and all about the music around us. Amazingly, you can almost hear it.” —John Lithgow