JOHN ADAMS AT 70:
Anniversary Concerts Surround Milestone Birthday on February 15
“Three decades after shocking the minimalist establishment with his allusions to European Romanticism, and on the cusp of his 70th birthday, Adams has never been more relevant on both sides of the Atlantic.” —Financial Times
Celebrations of John Adams’s 70th birthday, which began in fall 2016, continue through 2017 with major festivities taking place in the composer’s native California, organized around his birthday on February 15. Additional anniversary highlights during the winter and spring take place in New York and Chicago, and abroad in London, Berlin, and Amsterdam.
Celebrations in Adams’s home state abound in February and March, led by San Francisco Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Adams curates an eclectic program for San Francisco Symphony’s SoundBox series on February 10–11, featuring his own works along with selections from Andrew Norman, Jacob Cooper, and Ashley Fure. San Francisco Symphony next presents The Gospel According to the Other Mary (Feb 16–18) and Scheherazade.2 (Feb 22–25), featuring violin soloist Leila Josefowicz. The Los Angeles Philharmonic follows up with a brand new semi-staged production of Nixon in China directed by Elkhanah Pulitzer (Mar 3/5), conducted by the composer himself. Additional home state celebrations include Cal Performances’ revival of Lucinda Childs’s production of Available Light (Feb 3/4), setting Adams’s richly impressionistic Light Over Water.
Across the US
Chicago Symphony celebrates the composer’s birthday in March with a three programs featuring his works: Scheherazade.2 (Mar 2–7), Slonimsky’s Earbox (Mar 9–11), and John’s Book of Alleged Dances (Mar 12). The New York Philharmonic also presents major Adams at 70 programming during director Alan Gilbert’s final season with the orchestra, including two programs featuring Adams’s works (Absolute Jest, Mar 9–11; Short Ride in a Fast Machine, Mar 15–18). Additionally, the Philharmonic will perform his works on its European spring tour in London (Apr 1–2) as part of the Barbican’s Adams at 70 celebration.
The St. Louis Symphony and Chorus—with whom Adams has enjoyed an especially close relationship for years—performs The Gospel According to the Other Mary with David Robertson in the orchestra’s home city before bringing the monumental work to Carnegie Hall on March 31. The St. Lawrence String Quartet—another champion of Adams’s works—will perform his Second Quartet in a concert presented by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (Apr 25).
The Barbican’s Sounds that Changed America series spotlights Adams at 70 with a number of concerts: The Britten Sinfonia salutes the composer with a performance of Chamber Symphony (Feb 25), and the New York Philharmonic tours to London with a performance of Absolute Jest, Chairman Dances, and Harmonielehre (Apr 1/2). In April, Adams himself will conduct a concert performance of Doctor Atomic at the Barbican with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
In Germany, Bonn Opera presents The Gospel According to the Other Mary (Mar 16–May 14) in the Peter Sellars production first seen at English National Opera, conducted by Joana Carneiro. Adams’s extensive seasonlong composer residency with the Berliner Philharmoniker—which has included 15 concerts and a special CD edition on the way—concludes in June with a performance of City Noir conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.
At the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, ZaterdagMatinée presents Nixon in China in concert, performed by the Dutch National Youth Orchestra (Feb 11). In May, Adams himself conducts the Dutch premiere of the Saxophone Concerto with soloist Timothy McAllister and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra.
In France, Adams is composer-in-association with the Orchestre national de Lyon throughout the season. On April 29, the orchestra presents a day of the composer’s music, including John’s Book of Alleged Dances and Gnarly Buttons.
Final Celebration: World Premiere of New Opera
The anniversary festivities circle back to Adams’s home state of California for the grand finale: the world premiere of his new opera, Girls of the Golden West, presented by San Francisco Opera in November and December 2017. The two-act opera is set during the 1850s California Gold Rush with libretto and production by Peter Sellars. To learn more about the world premiere production, read San Francisco Opera’s 2017–2018 season announcement.
To visit John Adams’s personal website, click here.
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