John Adams at 70: Anniversary Season Highlights
John Adams turns 70 on February 15, 2017, and performances are in place around the world to celebrate this landmark anniversary throughout the 2016–2017 season. The West Coast hosts a string of celebrations surrounding the California-based composer’s actual birthdate, beginning with San Francisco Symphony’s weeklong focus with presentations of his Passion oratorio The Gospel According to the Other Mary (Feb 16–18) and Scheherazade.2 with violinist Leila Josefowicz (Feb 22-25), followed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s production of Nixon in China, conducted by the composer in early March. Additional Los Angeles Philharmonic presentations feature Adams conducting the orchestra in five premieres by other composers (Oct 1) as well performances of Absolute Jest conducted by Gustavo Dudamel (Sep 29-30).
In December, institutions unite across the world with numerous productions of Adams’s Nativity-tale opera El Niño. The London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus perform the opera in concert, conducted by John Adams, at the Barbican (Dec 4), and then travel to perform the work at the Philharmonie de Paris (Dec 11). The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir perform the work in concert at the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam (Dec 10), and the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Children’s Chorus and conductor Grant Gershon perform the full opera production at Walt Disney Concert Hall (Dec 16). El Niño receives its first Russian performance in November at Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, performed by the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia and conductor Vladimir Jurowski.
This season, Adams is in residence with the Berliner Philharmoniker, conducting the orchestra in the German premiere of Scheherazade.2 with Leila Josefowicz (Sep 15-17). Additional highlights include the Berlin premiere of The Gospel According to the Other Mary conducted by Simon Rattle in January and City Noir conducted by Maestro Dudamel in June.
In France, Adams is composer-in-association with the Orchestre national de Lyon throughout the season. Seven works are programmed, including the French premiere of the Saxophone Concerto with Timothy McAllister as soloist, orchestral concerts conducted by Leonard Slatkin and a day of the composer’s music on April 29.
The Philharmonie de Paris presents a weekend packed with performances of Adams’s music in December: His String Quartets Nos. 1 and 2 are played by members of the Orchestre national d’Ile-de-France and the St Lawrence String Quartet, respectively; the Orchestre national de Lyon presents the Saxophone Concerto with conductor Joshua Weilerstein and Timothy McAllister; and the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by the composer performs Scheherazade.2 with Leila Josefowicz as soloist.
The Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam hosts to the ZaterdagMatinee’s “The World According to Adams” series with seven works honoring the composer’s 70th. Highlights include the Dutch National Youth Orchestra performing of Nixon in China in February, and Adams conducting the Dutch premiere of the Saxophone Concerto with Timothy McAllister in May.
The Barbican’s 2016-2017 season celebrates the composer in its Sounds that Changed America series. Highlights include a concert performance of Doctor Atomic conducted by Adams with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in April, Scheherazade.2 performed by the LSO and Leila Josefowicz (December 8), Chamber Symphony and Grand Pianola Music by the Britten Sinfonia (February 25) and Absolute Jest and Harmonielehre by the New York Philharmonic (April 1-2).
Other major highlights include the January production of Nixon in China by Houston Grand Opera and the St. Louis Symphony performance of The Gospel According to the Other Mary at Carnegie Hall on March 31. Additionally, Nonesuch Records is releasing a new recording of Adams’s Scheherazade.2 this fall on September 30, featuring Josefowicz with the St. Louis Symphony and David Robertson.
The finale of the Adams 70th year is promised with the world premiere of his Girls of the Golden West staged by San Francisco Opera in November 2017. The new two-act opera is set during the 1850s California Gold Rush with libretto and production by Peter Sellars. A tantalizing five-minute orchestral teaser, Lola Montez Does the Spider Dance, was excerpted from the opera and revealed to acclaim last August at the 2016 Cabrillo Festival under Marin Alsop.
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