John Adams was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1947 and graduated from Harvard University in 1971. He moved to California where he taught and conducted at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for ten years. His innovative concerts led to his appointment firstly as contemporary music adviser to the San Francisco Symphony, and then as the orchestra's composer-in-residence between 1979 and 1985, the period in which his reputation became established with the success of such works as Harmonium and Harmonielehre. Recordings on the New Albion and ECM labels were followed in 1986 by an exclusive contract with Nonesuch Records, an association that continues today. In 1999 Nonesuch released The John Adams Earbox, a critically-lauded 10-CD retrospective box set.

Of John Adams's compositions, the best known and most widely discussed is his opera Nixon in China, given its premiere by Houston Grand Opera in 1987 and winner of the 1989 Grammy for 'Best Contemporary Composition.' With Nixon in China, the composer, along with director Peter Sellars, librettist Alice Goodman, and choreographer Mark Morris, brought contemporary history vividly into the opera house, pioneering an entire genre of post-modern music theater. The original staging of the work by Sellars has subsequently been seen in New York, Washington, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Los Angeles, Paris, Adelaide, and Frankfurt. New productions of the opera have been presented in Helsinki (in Finnish) and Bielefeld (in German), while concert performances have recently been given in London and Tallinn, Estonia.

Adams's second opera, The Death of Klinghoffer, again a collaboration with Sellars, Goodman, and Morris, had its premiere at the Brussels Opera in 1991. Described by Newsweek critic Katrine Ames as "a work that fires the heart," it has also been seen in Lyon, Vienna, New York and San Francisco. His next stage work was a collaboration with Peter Sellars and librettist June Jordan; entitled I Was Looking at the Ceiling and then I Saw the Sky, it is described by its creators as a ‘song play’, scored for seven singers and an onstage band of eight instrumentalists. Ceiling/Sky, which made its debut in Berkeley in May 1995, has since been performed throughout North America and Europe.

Initially known as a Minimalist, Adams has in his mature work harnessed the rhythmic energy of Minimalism to the harmonies and orchestral colors of late-Romanticism. Concurrently he has introduced references to a wide range of 20th-century idioms - both 'popular' and 'serious' - in works such as his two operas and the wittily eclectic orchestral piece Fearful Symmetries, which touches on Stravinsky, Honegger, and big-band swing music.

In a similar vein, Adams's Chamber Symphony, premiered in January 1993, merges the virtuosic expressionism of Schoenberg with the manic world of cartoon soundtrack music. Scored for fifteen instruments, Chamber Symphony has met with extraordinary success: more than 40 ensembles have performed or scheduled the work. In addition, Chamber Symphony won Adams the 1994 Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award for best chamber composition.

Orchestral works by Adams include the two often-heard fanfares Short Ride in a Fast Machine and Tromba Lontana; his acclaimed Walt Whitman setting The Wound-Dresser; and El Dorado, a commission from the San Francisco Symphony that addresses the effects of greed on our environment and society. For his Violin Concerto, written in an unusual three-way commission between the Minnesota Orchestra, the London Symphony and the New York City Ballet, Adams was awarded the 1995 Grawemeyer Award for Music. Other honors include the California Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts, the Cyril Magnin Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts, and the rank of ‘Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres,’ awarded by the French Ministry of Culture.

February 1999 brought the world premiere in Los Angeles of Naive and Sentimental Music, commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Vancouver Symphony, Sydney Symphony, and Ensemble Modern Orchestra. This 50-minute orchestral essay has been widely hailed as one of Adams’s crowning achievements in the medium. Other orchestral pieces written during the 1990s include Slonimsky’s Earbox (1996), commissioned jointly by the Hallé Orchestra and the Oregon Symphony; Gnarly Buttons (1996), a clarinet concerto given its premiere by soloist Michael Collins and the London Sinfonietta with the composer conducting; and Century Rolls, a piano concerto written for Emanuel Ax, and premiered in 1997 by Ax with the Cleveland Orchestra under Christoph von Dohnányi.

In December 2000 Adams’s oratorio on the theme of the Nativity, El Niño, created in collaboration with Peter Sellars, was given its premiere in Paris with singers Dawn Upshaw, Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson and Willard White and the German Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin under Kent Nagano. The work has recently been released on disc by Nonesuch. The composer’s most recent orchestral score, Guide to Strange Places, co-commissioned by the Matinee series in the Netherlands, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, receives its first performances in the 2001/2002 season.

In 1996, a survey of major orchestras conducted by the American Symphony Orchestra League found John Adams to be the most frequently-performed living American composer.
September 2001
© Boosey & Hawkes



Photo © James Poke



David Lang est né à Los Angeles. Il est diplômé des universités d’Iowa, de Yale et de Stanford. Parmi ses professeurs figurent Jacob Druckman, Hans Werner Henze, Martin Bresnick, Roger Reynolds et Henri Lazaroff. Lauréat de nombreux prix, parmi lesquels le Prix de Rome, et est récompensé par le National Endowment et la New York Foundation for the Arts, il a composé pour le Boston Symphony, le Cleveland Orchestra, l’Opéra de Santa Fe et le Pittsburg New Music Ensemble. David Lang est co-fondateur et co-directeur du festival " Bang on a Can " dont la vocation est de jouer les œuvres de compositeurs " indépendants et isolés ". Il est actuellement compositeur en résidence à l’American Conservatory Theater de San Francisco.

David Lang’s distinct sound fuses the tradition of classical music with urban aggressiveness, where melodies are accompanied by noise and subtle harmonies are pulled apart by pounding rhythms. Commissioned by such organizations as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Singers, the American Composers Orchestra and the Santa Fe Opera, Lang's works are showing up with regularity around the world: at the New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic; at the Tanglewood, the Aspen Music Festival, the Almeida, Holland, Berlin and Huddersfield festivals; the Munich Biennale; in the choreography of Twyla Tharp; in theater productions in New York, San Francisco and London; and at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center and the South Bank Centre. David Lang's awards include the Rome Prize, the BMW Music-Theater Prize (Munich), a Kennedy Center/Friedheim Award, the Revson Fellowship with the New York Philharmonic, and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Born in Los Angeles in 1957, Lang holds degrees from Stanford University and the University of Iowa, receiving his doctorate from the Yale School of Music in 1989. He has studied with Jacob Druckman, Hans Werner Henze, and Martin Bresnick.

[New Music New Haven]

[Edition Peters]

Erkki-Sven Tüür, born in Kärdla on the Estonian island of Hiiumaa in 1959, is one of the most remarkable composers of his generation. Largely self-taught, he studied percussion and flute at the Tallinn Music School from 1976 to 1980. Later, from 1980 to 1984, he studied composition with Jaan Rääts at the Tallinn Academy of Music and took private lessons from Lepo Sumera. Among Tüür's many awards is the Cultural Prize of the Republic of Estonia (1991 and 1996). Today he is a freelance composer based in Tallinn.

In 1979 Tüür founded a chamber rock group "In Spe" that soon became one of the most popular in Estonia. He functioned as composer, flutist, keyboard player and singer in this ensemble.

With the onset of perestroika Tüür's music was heard outside Estonia for the first time. His first great success was in Finland (with Insula deserta of 1989). Later he was commissioned to compose new works for the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Helsinki Festival, American Waterways Wind Symphony Orchestra, Stockholm Saxophone Quartet, the Hilliard Ensemble, Cabaza Percussion Quartet, Estonian State Symphony Orchestra, David Geringas, Piano Circus, Frankfurt RSO, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and others.

Tüür's music is being heard more and more frequently not only throughout Europe but also in North America, Australia and Japan. His oeuvre comprises orchestral, concert and chamber music, oratorios, film scores and incidental music. His works have been performed at such festivals as Bang on a Can (New York), Border Crossings (Toronto), Musica (Strasbourg), Emerging Light (London), the Vale of Glamorgan Festival (Wales), Musica Nova Helsinki, the Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival, Wien Modern, and the festivals in Berlin, Huddersfield, Salzburg, Stockholm and Gstaad.

"Erkki-Sven Tüür's music sounds as if it had strolled through the history of music assimilating theoretical inspiration and practical experience along the way. Then it seems to have wrapped itself up in a cocoon immune to the outside world, there to develop its own contours." (Wolfgang Sandner)

BIOGRAPHIE DE [Edition Peters]



James MacMillan (b.16 July 1959, Kilwinning, Ayrshire) read music at Edinburgh University and took Doctoral studies in composition at Durham University with John Casken. After working as a lecturer at Manchester University, he returned to Scotland and settled in Glasgow. The successful premiere of Tryst at the 1990 St Magnus Festival led to his appointment as Affiliate Composer of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and this season celebrates his tenth and final year as Artistic Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Music of Today series of contemporary music concerts. MacMillan is internationally active as a conductor and in 2000 was appointed Composer/Conductor with the BBC Philharmonic.

In addition to The Confession of Isobel Gowdie, which launched MacMillan's international career at the BBC Proms in 1990, his orchestral output includes the percussion concerto Veni, Veni, Emmanuel, composed for Evelyn Glennie, which has received over 200 performances since its premiere in 1992 and has been programmed by leading international orchestras and conductors including the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Slatkin, the Philadelphia Orchestra under Andrew Davis, and the Detroit Symphony under Neeme Järvi. MacMillan’s music has been programmed extensively at international music festivals, including the Edinburgh Festival in 1993, the Bergen Festival in 1997, the South Bank Centre’s 1997 Raising Sparks festival in London devoted to his music, and the Queensland Biennial in 1999.

Works by MacMillan also include Seven Last Words from the Cross for chorus and string orchestra, screened on BBC TV during Holy Week 1994, Inés de Castro, premiered by Scottish Opera and toured to Porto in 2001, a triptych of orchestral works commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra: The World's Ransoming, a Cello Concerto for Mstislav Rostropovich, and Symphony: ‘Vigil’ premiered under the baton of Rostropovich in 1997, and Quickening for The Hilliard Ensemble, chorus and orchestra, co-commissioned by the BBC Proms and the Philadelphia Orchestra. MacMillan’s Symphony No.2 was commissioned by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and premiered in 1999, and his first score for the BBC Philharmonic, The Birds of Rhiannon, received its first performance at the 2001 BBC Proms in London.

In terms of recordings, the Koch Schwann disc of The Confession of Isobel Gowdie and Tryst won the 1993 Gramophone Contemporary Music Record of the Year Award, and the BMG recording of Veni, Veni, Emmanuel won the 1993 Classic CD Award for Contemporary Music. A second recording of Veni, Veni, Emmanuel has been released on the Naxos label, featuring Colin Currie. A series of MacMillan discs on the BIS label has to date included the complete Triduum conducted by Osmo Vänskä, the clarinet concerto Ninian, the trumpet concerto Epiclesis and Symphony No.2. Other acclaimed recordings include a choral collection including Mass on Hyperion. Forthcoming releases include Raising Sparks on Black Box, and The Birds of Rhiannon and further choral works on Chandos.

Future commissions include orchestral works for the BBC Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, NHK Symphony, and a choral work for The Sixteen. © Boosey & Hawkes


[MacMillan's publishers]