John Adams (composer)
John Coolidge Adams is an American composer and conductor of classical music and opera, with strong roots in minimalism. His works include Nixon in China, Short Ride in a Fast Machine, On the Transmigration of Souls, a choral piece commemorating the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Shaker Loops, a minimalist four-movement work for strings, his operas include Nixon in China, which recounts Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to China, Doctor Atomic, which covers Robert Oppenheimer, the Manhattan Project, the building of the first atomic bomb and The Death of Klinghoffer based on the hijacking of the passenger liner Achille Lauro by the Palestine Liberation Front in 1985, the hijackers' murder of 69-year-old Jewish-American passenger Leon Klinghoffer, who used a wheelchair. The opera has drawn controversy, including allegations by some that the opera is antisemitic and glorifies terrorism; the work's creators and others have disputed these criticisms. John Coolidge Adams was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1947.
He was raised in various New England states, where he was influenced by New England's musical culture. He graduated from Concord High School in New Hampshire. Adams began composing at the age of ten and first heard his music performed around the age of 13 or 14. After he matriculated at Harvard University in 1965 he studied composition under Leon Kirchner, Roger Sessions, Earl Kim, David Del Tredici, he studied at Harvard University. He taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music from 1972 until 1984. In 1975, his piece "American Standard" was released on Obscure Records, he served as musical producer for a number of series for the Public Broadcasting System, including the award-winning series, The Adams Chronicles in 1976 and 1977. Some works composed during this period include China Gates, Phrygian Gates for solo piano, Shaker Loops, Common Tones in Simple Time, Grand Pianola Music, Light Over Water, The Chairman Dances, Short Ride in a Fast Machine, Nixon in China; the Wound-Dresser: John Adams's setting of Walt Whitman's 1865 poem of the same title, which Whitman wrote after visiting wounded soldiers during the American Civil War.
The piece is scored for baritone voice, two flutes, two oboes, bass clarinet, two bassoons, two horns, timpani and strings. The Death of Klinghoffer: The opera's story begins with the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro by Palestinian terrorists and details the murder of a passenger named Leon Klinghoffer, a retired, physically disabled American Jew. Chamber Symphony: This piece was commissioned by the Gerbode Foundation of San Francisco for the San Francisco Contemporary Chamber Players. I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky: A stage piece with libretto by June Jordan and staging by Peter Sellars; the main characters are seven young Americans from different social and ethnic backgrounds, all living in Los Angeles. The story takes place in the aftermath of the earthquake in Los Angeles in 1994. Hallelujah Junction: This piece for two pianos employs variations of a repeated two note rhythm; the intervals between the notes remain the same through much of the piece.
On the Transmigration of Souls: This piece commemorates those who lost their lives in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. It won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Music as well as the 2005 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Composition. My Father Knew Charles Ives: A semi-autobiographical orchestral triptych, it was commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony. The Dharma at Big Sur: A piece for solo electric six-string violin and orchestra; the piece calls for some instruments to use just intonation, a tuning system in which intervals sound pure, rather than equal temperament, the common Western tuning system in which all intervals except the octave are impure. Doctor Atomic: An opera in two acts, about Robert Oppenheimer, the Manhattan Project, the creation and testing of the first atomic bomb; the libretto of Doctor Atomic by Peter Sellars draws on original source material, including personal memoirs, recorded interviews, technical manuals of nuclear physics, declassified government documents, the poetry of the Bhagavad Gita, John Donne, Charles Baudelaire, Muriel Rukeyser.
The opera takes place in June and July 1945 over the last few hours before the first atomic bomb explodes at the test site in New Mexico. Characters include Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer and his wife Kitty, Edward Teller, General Leslie Groves, Robert Wilson. A Flowering Tree: An opera in two acts, based on a folktale from the Kannada language of southern India as translated by A. K. Ramanujan, it was commissioned as part of the Vienna New Crowned Hope Festival to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth. Doctor Atomic Symphony: Based on music from the opera. Fellow Traveler: This piece was commissioned for the Kronos Quartet by Greg G. Minshall, was dedicated to opera and theater director Peter Sellars for his 50th birthday; the Gospel According to the Other Mary: An oratorio in two acts for orchestra and chorus, it premiered in May 2012 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Master Chorale conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. The revised version, in the work's staged premiere, occurred in February 2013 again with the Los Angeles Philharmon
A herder is a worker who lives a semi-nomadic life, caring for various domestic animals, in places where these animals wander pasture lands. If the person is a minor, he is called herdboy, a male herder is called a herdsman and a female herder by contrast is called a herdswoman; because their work is mostly outdoors, they move around from place to place in the course of their labours. The possibility exists that the lands upon which their beasts graze are not claimed as any single person's property. A number of romantic legends have sprung up around some aspects of their way of life; some herders whose lifestyles have become mainstays of fiction include: The shepherd, featured in pastoral literature The cowboy, hero of Western movies and fiction, featured in romantic tales from the United States The gaucho, who in the Pampas of Argentina and the Southernmost Brazil, plays a similar role to the cowboy. A campino is a cattle herder in the Portuguese region of Ribatejo. Cowboy Goatherd Herding Pastoralism Shepherd Fulani herdsmen
Timbales or pailas are shallow single-headed drums with metal casing. They are shallower than single-headed tom-toms, tuned much higher for their size; the player uses a variety of stick strokes, rim shots, rolls to produce a wide range of percussive expression during solos and at transitional sections of music, plays the shells of the drum or auxiliary percussion such as a cowbell or cymbal to keep time in other parts of the song. The shells are referred to as cáscara, the name of a rhythmic pattern common in salsa music, played on the shells of the timbales; the shells are made of metal, but some manufacturers offer shells of maple and other woods. The term timbal or timbales has been used in Cuba for two quite different types of drum. Timbales is the Spanish word for timpani, an instrument, imported into Cuba in the 19th century and used by wind orchestras known as orquestas típicas; these were the same general type of drum used in military bands slung either side of a horse, in classical orchestras.
These were, are, played with mallets. The timpani were replaced by pailas criollas, which were designed to be used by street bands. Pailas are always hit with straight batons. Hits are made on the metal sides. In a modern band the timbalero may have a trap set to switch to for certain numbers. Since the term timbales is used to refer to both timpani and pailas criollas, it is ambiguous when referring to bands playing the danzón in the 1900–1930 period. In French, timbales is the word for timpani, thus the French refer to Cuban timbales as timbales latines. In Brazil, the term timbal refers to an unrelated drum. Timbalitos or pailitas are small timbales with diameters of 6″, 8″, or 10″; the timbalitos are used to play the part of the bongos with sticks and are not used to play the traditional timbales part. Papaíto and Manny Oquendo were masters at playing the bongó part on timbalitos. Timbalitos are sometimes incorporated into expanded timbales set-ups, or incorporated into drum kits; the basic timbales part for danzón is called the baqueteo.
In the example below, the slashed noteheads indicate muted drum strokes, the regular noteheads indicate open strokes. The danzón was the first written music to be based on the organizing principle of sub-Saharan African rhythm, known in Cuba as clave. During the mambo era of the 1940s, timbalero s began to mount cowbells on their drums; the cowbells, or wood blocks may be mounted above and between the two timbales a little further from the player. The following four timbale bell patterns are based on the folkloric rumba cáscara part, they are written in 3-2 clave sequence. In the 1970s José Luis Quintana "Changuito" developed the technique of playing timbale and bongo bell parts when he held the timbales chair in the songo band Los Van Van; the example below shows the combined bell patterns. Tito Puente was seen in concerts, on posters and album covers, with seven or eight timbales in one set; the timbales were expanded with drum kit pieces, such as a kick or snare drum. By the late 1970s this became the norm in the genre known as songo.
Changuito and others brought funk influences into timbales playing. In contemporary timba bands, such as Calizto Oviedo, will use a timbales/drum kit hybrid; the original style of soloing on timbales is known as típico. Manny Oquendo played timbales solos famous for their tastefully sparse, straight forward típico phrasing; the following five measure excerpt is from a timbales solo by Oquendo on "Mambo." The clave pattern is written above for reference. Notice how the passage ends by coinciding with the strokes of clave. By the late 1940s and early 1950s, some timbaleros Tito Puente, began incorporating the rhythmic vocabulary of rumba quinto into their solos. Drummer John Dolmayan of System of a Down is known for using two mini timbales in his kit. Bud Gaugh of Sublime and Long Beach Dub Allstars used a single, high pitched timbal on his drumkit to the left of his snare during his years with those bands. Bud used his timbal for accents and transitions in the more reggae-influenced songs, but it is used in place of the snare on the song "Waiting for My Ruca" from 40 oz. to Freedom and Stand By Your Van.
He has not used the timbales in his recent bands Eyes Adrift and Del Mar due to the lack of reggae influence in those bands. The Ohio University Marching 110's drum line features four sets of timbales in the place of quads or quints, they are one of the few marching bands in the country to still employ timbales in their drum line. They employ four sets of dual tom toms to play the lower lines that a quad or quint would cover. A recent offshoot of the Washington DC funk genre of Go-Go known as the "Bounce Beat" features timbales as a predominant instrument. Dave Mackintosh uses a pair of 8" diameter attack timbales 9" and 11" deep made by Meinl Percussion to produce a similar sound to a pair of octobans. Meinl produce a set of mini timbales of traditional depth but 8" and 10" diameter suitable for drum kit usage. Timbales are traditionally played in: Danzón Mambo Cha-cha-cha Pachanga Descarga Salsa Songo Timba Latin jazz Latin rockOther Latin music genres such as cumbia sometimes incorporate this instrument in lieu of the
The double bass, or the bass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra. It is a standard member of the orchestra's string section, as well as the concert band, is featured in concertos and chamber music in Western classical music; the bass is used in a range of other genres, such as jazz, 1950s-style blues and rock and roll, psychobilly, traditional country music, bluegrass and many types of folk music. The bass is a transposing instrument and is notated one octave higher than tuned to avoid excessive ledger lines below the staff; the double bass is the only modern bowed string instrument, tuned in fourths, rather than fifths, with strings tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2. The instrument's exact lineage is still a matter of some debate, with scholars divided on whether the bass is derived from the viol or the violin family; however the body shape where it curves into the neck matches the viol family whereas in the rest of the violin family, the body meets the neck with no blending curve.
The double bass is played by plucking the strings. In orchestral repertoire and tango music, both arco and pizzicato are employed. In jazz and rockabilly, pizzicato is the norm. Classical music uses the natural sound produced acoustically by the instrument, as does traditional bluegrass. In jazz and related genres, the bass is amplified; the double bass stands around 180 cm from scroll to endpin. However, other sizes are available, such as a 1⁄2 or 3⁄4, which serve to accommodate a player's height and hand size; these sizes do not reflect the size relative to 4⁄4 bass. It is constructed from several types of wood, including maple for the back, spruce for the top, ebony for the fingerboard, it is uncertain whether the instrument is a descendant of the viola da gamba or of the violin, but it is traditionally aligned with the violin family. While the double bass is nearly identical in construction to other violin family instruments, it embodies features found in the older viol family. Like other violin and viol-family string instruments, the double bass is played either with a bow or by plucking the strings.
In orchestral repertoire and tango music, both arco and pizzicato are employed. In jazz and rockabilly, pizzicato is the norm, except for some solos and occasional written parts in modern jazz that call for bowing. In classical pedagogy all of the focus is on performing with the bow and producing a good bowed tone. Bowed notes in the lowest register of the instrument produce a dark, mighty, or menacing effect, when played with a fortissimo dynamic. Classical bass students learn all of the different bow articulations used by other string section players, such as détaché, staccato, martelé, sul ponticello, sul tasto, tremolo and sautillé; some of these articulations can be combined. Classical bass players do play pizzicato parts in orchestra, but these parts require simple notes, rather than rapid passages. Classical players perform both bowed and pizz notes using vibrato, an effect created by rocking or quivering the left hand finger, contacting the string, which transfers an undulation in pitch to the tone.
Vibrato is used to add expression to string playing. In general loud, low-register passages are played with little or no vibrato, as the main goal with low pitches is to provide a clear fundamental bass for the string section. Mid- and higher-register melodies are played with more vibrato; the speed and intensity of the vibrato is varied by the performer for an emotional and musical effect. In jazz and other related genres, much or all of the focus is on playing pizzicato. In jazz and jump blues, bassists are required to play rapid pizzicato walking basslines for extended periods; as well and rockabilly bassists develop virtuoso pizzicato techniques that enable them to play rapid solos that incorporate fast-moving triplet and sixteenth note figures. Pizzicato basslines performed by leading jazz professionals are much more difficult than the pizzicato basslines that Classical bassists encounter in the standard orchestral literature, which are whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, occasional eighth note passages.
In jazz and related styles, bassists add semi-percussive "ghost notes" into basslines, to add to the rhythmic feel and to add fills to a bassline. The double bass player stands, or sits on a high stool, leans the instrument against their body, turned inward to put the strings comfortably in reach; this stance is a key reason for the bass's sloped shoulders, which mark it apart from the other members of the violin family—the narrower shoulders facilitate playing the strings in their higher registers. The double bass is regarded as a modern descendant of the string family of instruments that originated in Europe in the 15th century, as such has been described as a bass Violin. Before the 20th century many double basses had only three strings, in contrast to the five to six strings typical of instruments in the viol family or the four strings of instruments in the violin family; the double bass's proportions are di
Richard Georg Strauss was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier, Die Frau ohne Schatten and Salome. Strauss was a prominent conductor in Western Europe and the Americas, enjoying quasi-celebrity status as his compositions became standards of orchestral and operatic repertoire. Strauss, along with Gustav Mahler, represents the late flowering of German Romanticism after Richard Wagner, in which pioneering subtleties of orchestration are combined with an advanced harmonic style. Strauss was born on 11 June 1864 in Munich, the son of Josephine and Franz Strauss, the principal horn player at the Court Opera in Munich. In his youth, he received a thorough musical education from his father, he wrote his first composition at the age of six, continued to write music until his death. During his boyhood Strauss attended orchestra rehearsals of the Munich Court Orchestra, where he received private instruction in music theory and orchestration from an assistant conductor.
In 1872, he started receiving violin instruction at the Royal School of Music from Benno Walter, his father's cousin. In 1874, Strauss heard his first Wagner operas and Tannhäuser; the influence of Wagner's music on Strauss's style was to be profound, but at first his musically conservative father forbade him to study it. Indeed, in the Strauss household, the music of Richard Wagner was viewed with deep suspicion, it was not until the age of 16 that Strauss was able to obtain a score of Tristan und Isolde. In life, Strauss said that he regretted the conservative hostility to Wagner's progressive works. Strauss's father undoubtedly had a crucial influence on his son's developing taste, not least in Strauss's abiding love for the horn. In early 1882, in Vienna, he gave the first performance of his Violin Concerto in D minor, playing a piano reduction of the orchestral part himself, with his teacher Benno Walter as soloist; the same year he entered Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, where he studied philosophy and art history, but not music.
He left a year to go to Berlin, where he studied before securing a post as assistant conductor to Hans von Bülow, enormously impressed by the young composer's Serenade for wind instruments, composed when he was only 16 years of age. Strauss learned the art of conducting by observing Bülow in rehearsal. Bülow was fond of the young man, decided that Strauss should be his successor as conductor of the Meiningen Court Orchestra when Bülow resigned in 1885. Strauss's compositions at this time were indebted to the style of Robert Schumann or Felix Mendelssohn, true to his father's teachings, his Horn Concerto No. 1, is a staple of the modern horn repertoire. Strauss married soprano Pauline de Ahna on 10 September 1894, she was famous for being irascible, garrulous and outspoken, but to all appearances the marriage was happy, she was a great source of inspiration to him. Throughout his life, from his earliest songs to the final Four Last Songs of 1948, he preferred the soprano voice to all others, all his operas contain important soprano roles.
The Strausses had one son, Franz, in 1897. Franz married Alice von Grab-Hermannswörth, daughter of a Jewish industrialist, in a Roman Catholic ceremony in 1924. Franz and Alice had two sons and Christian. In 1906, Strauss purchased a block of land at Garmisch-Partenkirchen and had a villa built there with the down payments from the publisher Adolph Fürstner for his opera Salome, residing there until his death; some of Strauss's first compositions were solo instrumental and chamber works. These pieces include early compositions for piano solo in a conservative harmonic style, many of which are lost: two piano trios, a string quartet, a piano sonata, a cello sonata, a piano quartet, a violin sonata, as well as a serenade and a longer suite, both scored for double wind quintet plus two additional horns and contrabassoon. After 1890, Strauss composed infrequently for chamber groups, his energies being completely absorbed with large-scale orchestral works and operas. Four of his chamber pieces are arrangements of portions of his operas, including the Daphne-Etude for solo violin and the String Sextet, the overture to his final opera Capriccio.
His last independent chamber work, an Allegretto in E major for violin and piano, dates from 1948. He composed two large-scale works for wind ensemble during this period: Sonatina No. 1 "From an Invalid's Workshop" and Sonatina No. 2 "Happy Workshop" —both scored for double wind quintet plus two additional horns, a third clarinet in C, bassett horn, bass clarinet, contrabassoon. Strauss wrote two early symphonies: Symphony No. 1 and Symphony No. 2. However, Strauss's style began to develop and change when, in 1885, he met Alexander Ritter, a noted composer and violinist, the husband of one of Richard Wagner's nieces, it was Ritter who persuaded Strauss to abandon the conservative style of his youth and begin writing tone poems. He introduced Strauss to the essays of Wagner and the writings of Arthur Schopenhauer. Strauss went on to conduct one of Ritter's operas, at Strauss
Gustav Mahler was an Austro-Bohemian late-Romantic composer, one of the leading conductors of his generation. As a composer he acted as a bridge between the 19th century Austro-German tradition and the modernism of the early 20th century. While in his lifetime his status as a conductor was established beyond question, his own music gained wide popularity only after periods of relative neglect which included a ban on its performance in much of Europe during the Nazi era. After 1945 his compositions were rediscovered by a new generation of listeners. In 2016, a BBC Music Magazine survey of 151 conductors ranked three of his symphonies in the top ten symphonies of all time. Born in Bohemia as a German-speaking Jew of humble circumstances, Mahler displayed his musical gifts at an early age. After graduating from the Vienna Conservatory in 1878, he held a succession of conducting posts of rising importance in the opera houses of Europe, culminating in his appointment in 1897 as director of the Vienna Court Opera.
During his ten years in Vienna, Mahler—who had converted to Catholicism to secure the post—experienced regular opposition and hostility from the anti-Semitic press. His innovative productions and insistence on the highest performance standards ensured his reputation as one of the greatest of opera conductors as an interpreter of the stage works of Wagner and Tchaikovsky. Late in his life he was director of New York's Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic. Mahler's œuvre is limited. Aside from early works such as a movement from a piano quartet composed when he was a student in Vienna, Mahler's works are designed for large orchestral forces, symphonic choruses and operatic soloists; these works were controversial when first performed, several were slow to receive critical and popular approval. Some of Mahler's immediate musical successors included the composers of the Second Viennese School, notably Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg and Anton Webern. Dmitri Shostakovich, Benjamin Britten, Leonard Bernstein and Peter Maxwell Davies are among 20th-century composers who admired and were influenced by Mahler.
The International Gustav Mahler Institute was established in 1955 to honour the composer's life and work. The Mahler family were of humble circumstances. Bohemia was part of the Austrian Empire. From this background the future composer developed early on a permanent sense of exile, "always an intruder, never welcomed."Bernhard Mahler, the pedlar's son and the composer's father, elevated himself to the ranks of the petite bourgeoisie by becoming a coachman and an innkeeper. He bought a modest house in the village of Kalischt, halfway between Prague in Bohemia and Brno in Moravia, in the geographic center of today's Czech Republic. Bernhard's wife, gave birth to the first of the couple's 14 children, a son Isidor, who died in infancy. Two years on 7 July 1860, their second son, was born. In October 1860, Bernhard Mahler moved with his wife and infant son, Gustav, to the town of Iglau, 25 km to the south-east, where he built up a distillery and tavern business; the family grew but of the 12 children born to the family in Iglau only six survived infancy.
Iglau was a thriving commercial town of 20,000 people where Gustav was introduced to music through street songs, dance tunes, folk melodies, the trumpet calls and marches of the local military band. All of these elements would contribute to his mature musical vocabulary; when he was four years old, Gustav took to it immediately. He developed his performing skills sufficiently to be considered a local Wunderkind and gave his first public performance at the town theatre when he was ten years old. Although Gustav loved making music, his school reports from the Iglau Gymnasium portrayed him as absent-minded and unreliable in academic work. In 1871, in the hope of improving the boy's results, his father sent him to the New Town Gymnasium in Prague, but Gustav was unhappy there and soon returned to Iglau. On 13 April 1875 he suffered a bitter personal loss when his younger brother Ernst died after a long illness. Mahler sought to express his feelings in music: with the help of a friend, Josef Steiner, he began work on an opera, Herzog Ernst von Schwaben as a memorial to his lost brother.
Neither the music nor the libretto of this work has survived. Bernhard Mahler supported his son's ambitions for a music career, agreed that the boy should try for a place at the Vienna Conservatory; the young Mahler was auditioned by the renowned pianist Julius Epstein, accepted for 1875–76. He made good progress in his piano studies with Epstein and won prizes at the end of each of his first two years. For his final year, 1877–78, he concentrated on composition and harmony under Robert Fuchs and Franz Krenn. Few of Mahler's student compositions have survived, he destroyed a symphonic movement prepared for an end-of-term competition, after its scornful rejection