OHV 126 a-d

Major Figures in American Music: John Adams

Interviewed by Vincent Plush

San Francisco, California

May 23, 1983



Cassette Side a                                                                                                                          

Transcript pp. 1-17


Childhood in Vermont--clarinet study--interest in Ives--Mahler--Steve Reich--the tragic mode--clarinet--Walter Piston--jazz--Harvard--Tison Street--David Del Tredici--student activism--Vietnam threat--early pieces--influence of Bernstein--Copland.


Cassette Side b                                                                                                                         

Transcript pp. 17-37


Leon Kirchner--conducting--American Standard--religion--drugs--John Cage--Electric Wake--Roger Sessions--Montezuma--Pierre Boulez--Stravinsky--Earl Kim--Piano Quintet--high school conducting experience at Dartmouth--tape recorder--Brandeis studio--Heavy Metal--Stockhausen--Hockey Seen--Available Light--decision to leave East for San Francisco.


Cassette Side c                                                                                                                          

Transcript pp. 38-57


Teaching at San Francisco Conservatory--Tape Music Center--New Music Ensemble--Bob Moran--Cornelius Cardew--Mills, Berkeley, Stanford--Bicentennial Festival--Charlemagne Palestine--Shaker Loops--version for string orchestra--Phrygian Gates--Ktaadn--The China Gates--Grounding--trip to Florence--Common Tones in Simple Time--Harmonium--Grand Pianola Music--New and Unusual Music Series of San Francisco Symphony--Edo de Waart.


Cassette Side d                                                                                                                         

Transcript pp. 57-73


Grand Pianola Music--composer’s relationship to public--Eranos for film about Jung--Available Light (Light over Water)--Lucinda Childs--residency with San Francisco Symphony--reviewing unsolicited scores--future plans--opera--Philip Glass--Laurie Anderson--Boulez--division between experimental tradition and “traditional tradition”--relationship to Europe--composer ensembles.


OHV 126 e-h

Major Figures in American Music: John Adams                                                                   

Interviewed by Vivian Perlis

New York City

May 3, 1997




Cassette Side e                                                                                              

Transcrip pp. 1-16


1997 Composer of the Week with the New York Philharmonic--attitudes towards contemporary music: conductors, audiences and players --orchestras run as corporations--quality of orchestral players--Slonimsky’s Earbox--Violin Concerto with Gidon Kremer--violin playing styles--parallels to Ives and his father--composer role models--breaking away from “minimalist” label--misunderstood composers--John Cage’s influence--accepting the public’s limited viewpoint.



Cassette Side f                                                                                              

Transcrip pp. 17-32


Time it takes to accurately delineate a stylistic period--who will be remembered as a significant composer--balancing artistic and popular reasons for composing--Schoenberg as negative model passed on by Kirchner--Ellington and Stravinsky as positive models--escape to California--60s influence--Lou Harrison and Pacific Rim influences on West Coast composers--uniqueness of American music--New York as cultural center--time spent conducting in Europe--quality of radio programming as a measure of musical sophistication--”Bang On A Can” as musical marketing--need for self-advertisement--delay in public recognition--name launched by Nixon in China--change to full-time composer and financial success--need to conduct--musical children--great composers writing for children--operas, a major part of life--background reading for Nixon and Klinghoffer.




Cassette Side g                                                                                             

Transcrip pp. 33-34

 [starts out with duplicate material from SIDE F, as dub of DAT]


Continued discussion of Nixon and Klinghoffer.



 Cassette Side h                                                                                              

Transcrip pp. 35-41  


Nixon and Klinghoffer as prototypes for operas dealing with contemporary events--criticism of Klinghoffer--performances picketed and canceled--Ceiling/Sky--reception damaged by inability to label medium--revisions of pieces--need for music to also entertain--musical influences of parents--future interview.




OHV 126 i-k

Major Figures in American Music: John Adams

Interviewed by Ingram Marshall

Sierra Nevada Mountains, California

August 12, 1999



Cassette Side i                                                                                                             

Transcrip pp. 1-17


Conducting--studying Ives Fourth Symphony--Nancarrow and his player piano experiments--performing the Mikhashoff transcriptions of Nancarrow--meaning of Ives Fourth--Cage--effect of conducting on Adams’ composing--influence of Nancarrow--the vernacular in classical music--humor in music--Violin Concerto--using computers and technology as a compositional tool--writing Harmonielehre.


Cassette side j                                                                                                             

Transcrip pp. 17-33


More on Harmonielehre--optimism in music--literature and music--composing long pieces--The Wound-Dresser--Whitman’s Drum Taps--Fearful Symmetries--conducting career--El Dorado and its relationship to landscape--revising past compositions--Adams’s Chamber Symphony and Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony--Hoodoo Zephyr--using MIDI technology--Common Tones in Simple Time.


Cassette side k                                                                                                            

Transcrip pp. 33-44         


Hoodoo Zephyr cont’d--working with young performers--relationship with Nonesuch--writing Wave-Maker for Kronos--narrative in Adam’s pieces--Naive and Sentimental Music--fascination with German culture and language.



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