In Today’s Wall Street Journal: “Busting Out of Musical Lockdown”

In today’s Wall Street Journal

This is copyright protected, so, just a tease,


“In the summer of 1983, John Adams agreed to write the music for a new opera called Nixon in China. But Mr. Adams, then in his mid-30s and with a young family to support, soon drifted into what he called “a first-class funk”—a seemingly intractable creative block. For 18 months, he was unable to break his dry spell, despite locking himself in his studio and undergoing psychoanalysis.
John Adams

A dream finally helped him to break out of this period of “creative lockdown.” One night, he envisioned a supertanker blasting out of the San Francisco Bay and soaring up into the sky. That image gave him the inspiration to write the powerful, pounding E-minor chords that launched a 40-minute symphony, Harmonielehre, which then opened the way for him to compose the much-acclaimed Nixon in China.

Mr. Adams, 63, is one of America’s leading composers. With roots planted in classical music and minimalism, his operas also include The Death of Klinghoffer and Doctor Atomic. By choosing topical subjects and using expressive tonal harmonies, his work has seemed suspiciously accessible to some fellow modern composers, such as New York-based Charles Wuorinen.”

From 21C Media Group, “On January 19 at 7pm, Classical 105.9 WQXR will host a special preview of the Metropolitan Opera’s staging of John Adams’s iconic Nixon in China, live from The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space. The event will feature a discussion with Adams and director Peter Sellars about the celebrated opera, as well as performances of key arias by artists featured in the Met production. WQXR – New York City’s sole dedicated classical station – will broadcast the preview live from The Greene Space, New York Public Radio’s state-of-the-art broadcast studio and performance venue.

WQXR host Terrance McKnight will moderate the conversation, which will offer insights into the ways Nixon in China explores human truths beyond the headlines and history books. “All of my operas have dealt on deep psychological levels with our American mythology,” says the Pulitzer Prize-winning Adams, whose Technicolor minimalist score is receiving its Met premiere with the February 2-19 production.”