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April 28, 2010

Composer John Adams Reads from Autobiography at the Library of Congress

Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer John Adams will read from his autobiography, "Hallelujah Junction," in a special noontime event at the Library of Congress on May 14, 2010. The event, in the Whittall Pavilion on the ground floor of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building at 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C., will be free and open to the public; no tickets are required, but seating will be first-come, first-served.

The reading, which will later be available as a webcast on the Library’s website, will be followed by a brief question-and-answer session.

As a composer, conductor, and creative thinker, Adams occupies a unique position in the world of classical music. His works, both operatic and symphonic, stand out among contemporary classical compositions for their depth of expression, brilliance of sound, and the profoundly humanist nature of their themes.

A look at John Adams’s roster of compositions reveals a long and distinguished list of works that have achieved repertoire status, played regularly in opera houses and concert halls around the world. Notable works include the milestone operas "Nixon in China" and "The Death of Klinghoffer," collaborations with the poet Alice Goodman and the stage director Peter Sellars; "El Niño" and "Doctor Atomic," and his most recent stage work, "A Flowering Tree," written for the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth. In the chamber-music arena, his "Road Movies," a violin and piano work commissioned by the McKim Fund in the Library of Congress, has entered the repertoire as a classic. The St. Lawrence String Quartet performed his new "String Quartet" at the Library in December 2009.

Adams has also received critical acclaim for his creative programming, founding the "In Your Ear" festival at Carnegie Hall, curating festivals and concerts for such prominent musical institutions as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Cabrillo Festival, and the BBC Proms concerts, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. He held the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall from 2003-2007. Currently Adams is Creative Chair for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the artistic mind behind that orchestra’s forthcoming "West Coast/Left Coast" festival. A 10-disc Nonesuch Records set, "The John Adams Earbox," documents his recorded music through 2000.

An active and admired conductor, Adams appears with the world’s greatest orchestras in programs combining his own works with a wide variety of repertoire from all time periods. These have included the Mostly Mozart Festival orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and Ensemble ACJW, the New York Philharmonic, the London Sinfonietta, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal Concertgebouw. His reading at the Library of Congress is scheduled in conjunction with his appearances with the National Symphony, May 13-15 and May 20-22, during which he will conduct several of his own works, among them "The Wound-Dresser," "The "Dharma at Big Sur," and his "Dr. Atomic Symphony."

In 2003 Adams was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his piece "On the Transmigration of Souls," which commemorated the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. He has been widely honored by leading arts institutions, receiving the Harvard Arts Medal, honorary doctorates by the University of Cambridge and Northwestern University, and more recently, the National Endowment for the Arts Opera Honors Award. In 2009 he delivered the 2009 John Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Yale University.

John Adams’s blog can be found on his website, www.earbox.com (external link).

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PR 10-096
04/28/10
ISSN 0731-3527

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