Composer John Adams Dishes On Pop Culture

"The great bifurcation in music is between pop and classical," says composer John Adams. He discusses the challenge of creating classical music in a nation dominated by pop culture and "lingering anti-intellectualism."


One of America's most performed and admired composers, John Adams (Nixon in China, Doctor Atomic) helped shape the landscape of contemporary classical music.

His new memoir reveals the inner workings of his creative process and illuminates the recent history of music-making. - Los Angeles Public Library

John Adams is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer with strong roots in minimalism. His best-known works include Harmonielehre (1985), On the Transmigration of Souls (2002), a choral piece commemorating the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks (for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2003), and Shaker Loops, a minimalist four-movement work for strings. His well-known operas include Nixon in China (1987), which recounts Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to China, and Doctor Atomic (2005), which covers Robert Oppenheimer, the Manhattan Project, and the building of the first atomic bomb.
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