Composer/conductor John Adams was presented with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Distinguished Service Award for 2007 at the January 19 performance of his Naïve and Sentimental Music at Walt Disney Concert Hall for a lifetime of professional accomplishments and artistic contributions to the world's musical culture. The Los Angeles Philharmonic Distinguished Service Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated significant support for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association and whose efforts have helped to further the mission of the Philharmonic and to advance the cause of classical music throughout greater Los Angeles. Previous recipients of the award include former Philharmonic Music Director Zubin Mehta, philanthropist Eli Broad, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, K-Mozart's Saul Levine and former Los Angeles City Council Member Rosalind Wyman.
In recognition of the renowned composer's prolific artistry and long-standing relationship with the Association, Philharmonic Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen and President Deborah Borda presented Adams with the award before a full house.
John Adams is one of America's most admired and respected composers. A musician of enormous range and technical command, he has produced works, both operatic and symphonic, that stand out among all contemporary classical music for the depth of their expression, the brilliance of their sound and the profoundly humanist nature of their themes.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic's affiliation with Adams and his work extends over two decades since first performing a piece of his - Common Tones in Simple Time - in 1981. The orchestra has performed a total of 27 of his works, including the commissions and premieres of new pieces - such as Naïve and Sentimental Music and The Dharma at Big Sur, which was written for the opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2003 - with a 28th scheduled for Tuesday, January 23, 2007 in honor of the composer's upcoming 60th birthday. Adams first conducted the orchestra in 1985, and since then, he has led the Philharmonic 25 times, and served most recently as the curator of the highly regarded "Minimalist Jukebox" festival in 2006.
Born and raised in New England, educated at Harvard, Adams moved in 1971 to California, where he taught for ten years at the San Francisco Conservatory and was composer in residence at the San Francisco Symphony.
Adams's operatic works are among the most successful of our time. Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer and Doctor Atomic, all created in collaboration with stage director Peter Sellars, draw their subjects from archetypical themes in contemporary history. On the Transmigration of Souls, written for the New York Philharmonic in commemoration of the first anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, received the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Music, and won a rare "triple crown" at the Grammys, including 'Best Classical Recording', 'Best Orchestral Performance'. In 2003 a film version of The Death of Klinghoffer, Adams's second opera, directed by Penny Woolcock with the composer conducting the London Symphony was released in theaters, on television and on DVD. He is currently Composer in Residence at Carnegie Hall and Artist in Association with the BBC Symphony.
Nonesuch Records released Adams's Harmonielehre in 1985, and since then all of his works, both symphonic and theatrical, have appeared first on that label. A ten-CD set, The John Adams Earbox, documents his recorded music through 2000.
Adams is currently writing a book of memoirs and commentary on American musical life. Due for publication in 2007, it will be released by Farrar Straus & Giroux in the U.S. and by Faber Ltd. in the U.K. The John Adams Reader: Essential Writings on an American Composer (Amadeus Press, 2006) is the first full-length in-depth collection of texts dealing with over thirty years of his creative life.
Adams has been honored with honorary degrees and proclamations by, among others, Cambridge University, Harvard University, Phi Beta Kappa, the governor of California, the French Legion of Honor and Northwestern University, where he was awarded the first ever Nemmers Prize in music.
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