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Hallelujah Junction


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JOHN ADAMS is the composer of some of the most successful operas in recent memory--Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, and Doctor Atomic.


Celebrated American composer and conductor Adams's memoir chronicles his life from his upbringing as a talented clarinetist in rural New England to his countercultural coming-of-age as a Harvard undergraduate in the 1960s to his embrace of the musical life and vibrant scene of the Bay Area. Adams writes candidly of his compositions and those of his contemporaries in language accessible to the lay reader. Adams--through his engaging orchestral works, such as the Pulitzer Prize-winning On the Transmigration of Souls and his several landmark "docu-operas" like Nixon in China and Doctor Atomic (opening at the New York Metropolitan Opera this October)--has emerged as one of the most admired of all living composers. His book proceeds chronologically, but Adams frequently pauses to reflect on the nature of composing and the state of contemporary music. As one of the most inclusive of contemporary composers--his palette covers pop, jazz, and myriad global idioms--he shares his unique perspective on the multiple traditions that inform his musical language. Adams writes articulately about his life and works and the larger social context from which they emerge. Highly recommended for all collections.--Larry Lipkis, Moravian Coll., Bethlehem, PA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Best known for his groundbreaking musical works Nixon in China and The Death of Klinghoffer, Adams helped shape the landscape of contemporary classical music. Combining the narrative power of opera, the atonal themes of 20th-century classical music, the spooky modulations of jazz and the complex rhythms of the Beatles and the Band, Adams created a new music that could express the fractiousness of the political scene of the 1960s and 1970s. In this entertaining memoir, Adams deftly chronicles his life and times, providing along the way an incisive exploration of the creative process. A precocious musician, Adams began playing clarinet in the third grade, and, after hearing his teacher read Mozart's biography, tried his hand at composing music. During his undergraduate years at Harvard, he threw himself into performing and conducting when his own inadequacies as a composer began to dawn on him. By his final year at Harvard, however, the chaos of the late 1960s and the creative turbulence of the music scene drove him back to composing. After two years in graduate school, Adams set out for California, where he taught numerous composition classes and private clarinet lessons while working on his own music and with a who's who of the music world, from Cage and Leonard Bernstein to Philip Glass and Steve Reich. Adams's searingly introspective autobiography reveals the workings of a brilliant musical mind responsible for some of contemporary America's most inventive and original music. (Oct.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"No book I know of better captures the thrill of a moment of artistic freedom and innovation. . . . This is a book that any aspiring artist, in any medium, should read as a kind of how-to guide to achieving artistic success without losing integrity. . . . A book for anyone who wants to create something--including a self." --David Rollow, The Boston Globe"How Mr. Adams arrived at this particular harmonic language is largely the subject of his absorbing book, which at times reads like a quest narrative that travels through the whole landscape of twentieth-century music." --Chip McGrath, The New York Times"A lively, witty prose writer. . . . It's the range of Adams's musical appetites and intellectual hunger that leaves the strongest impression. This is a man who swallows whole new worlds with every fresh project he takes on--and makes his discoveries new for the rest of us." --Michael Upchurch, The Seattle Times"Engrossing . . . Like his music, Adams's voice in Hallelujah Junction is both playful and thoughtful, unafraid of making big emotional statements but obsessed with making sure those statements are precisely crafted. . . . An original and inspired book." --Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Sun-Times"John Adams is the voice of America . . . thoughtful, amusing, analytical--and a good writer. . . . To read something so intelligent, reasoned, and caring sure feels good these days." --Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times"Thoughtful, amusing, analytical . . . John Adams is the voice of America." --Mark Swede, Los Angeles Times"Hallelujah Junction stands . . . among the most readably incisive autobiographies of major musical figures." --David Hajdu, The New York Times Book Review

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