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date: 09 April 2020

Adams, John (Coolidge)locked

  • Sarah Cahill

Extract

(Coolidge)

(b Worcester, MA, Feb 15, 1947). American composer and conductor. Known particularly for his operatic works on contemporary subjects, he is considered one of the most frequently performed living composers of concert music.

He studied the clarinet with his father and with Felix Viscuglia, clarinettist with the Boston SO. At the age of ten he began theory and composition lessons, and at 14 he had his first piece performed by the community orchestra with whom he practised conducting. He also performed with the orchestra alongside his father, often appearing before an audience of mentally-handicapped patients at the New Hampshire State Hospital. As a student at Harvard University (1965–71, MA 1972) he studied composition with Leon Kirchner, Earl Kim, Roger Sessions, Harold Shapero and David Del Tredici. During this period he performed occasionally as a clarinettist with the Boston SO.

After moving to San Francisco in 1971...

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Opera Quarterly
Journal of Music Theory
Perspectives of New Music
New Haven (CT), Yale University, Oral History Archive