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John Adams, conductor

John Adams

Composer, conductor and creative thinker John Adams was born and raised in New England. He learned the clarinet from his father and played in marching bands and community orchestras during his formative years. He began composing at age ten and heard his first orchestral pieces performed while still a teenager. After graduating from Harvard, he moved in 1971 to the San Francisco Bay area where he has lived ever since.

A frequent guest on the podium of the world’s most esteemed orchestras, John Adams has made a reputation for his innovative programs and vibrant performances with a repertory ranging from Haydn and Beethoven, through Debussy and Stravinsky to Ives, Copland, Zappa, Reich, and Ellington.

Adams has appeared as guest conductor with, among others, the New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony. Among smaller ensembles, he has often directed and toured with the London Sinfonietta (with whom he made two CD’s of his own music), the Ensemble Modern, and the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s. A popular presence at the BBC Proms, Adams in his role as Artist in Residence with the BBC Symphony Orchestra frequently conducts live broadcast and televised concerts at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

As part of his fiftieth birthday celebrations, Adams led the Dutch Houdini Big Band in a concert of classic arrangements by Miles Davis, Gil Evans and Duke Ellington in the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam.

As Creative Chair of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, John Adams has conducted the orchestra in both subscription concerts and in the orchestra’s provocative Green Umbrella concerts. In November of 2009 he led the Philharmonic at Disney Hall in performances featuring violinist Leila Josefowicz playing his concerto for electric violin, The Dharma at Big Sur.

John Adams made his Metropolitan Opera debut in February of 2011 with seven performances of Nixon in China.