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Carnegie Hall Composer John Adams Begins First Campus Residency

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February 8, 2005 | by Judy Moore

John Adams, inaugural winner of the Northwestern University School of Music’s Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition, will visit the Northwestern Evanston campus in February for his first one-week residency.

During his campus visit Adams will interact with music faculty and students in classroom and rehearsal settings.

Adams’ first Nemmers campus residency (Feb. 21 to 25) will culminate at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25 with the “Music by John Adams” concert. The program will include his 1982 “Grand Pianola Music” with the Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble conducted by Mallory Thompson, the University’s director of bands. School of Music faculty pianists Ursula Oppens and Sylvia Wang and Chicago Symphony Orchestra clarinetist J. Lawrie Bloom will perform Adams’ “Gnarly Buttons,” featuring Adams conducting the University’s Contemporary Music Ensemble. Adams also will introduce two of his works during the program. The concert is open to the public and will be held at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston.

The composer’s subsequent three, weeklong residences are scheduled for October 2005 and January and May 2006.

Joining two other prestigious Nemmers Prizes conferred by Northwestern University, one in mathematics and one in economics, the music award honors outstanding achievement in composition and significant impact in the field.

In addition to receiving a $100,000 cash award, the winner spends four weeks on campus interacting with faculty, students and members of the community.

Adams is composer-in-residence at New York’s Carnegie Hall and is one of America’s most widely performed contemporary composers. He has received the Pulitzer Prize, the Grawemeyer Award and numerous other honors during his music career. His works have been presented by the world’s leading orchestras and opera companies and have inspired major choreographers.

Adams has brought contemporary history to the opera house with such music theater works as “Nixon in China” and “The Death of Klinghoffer.” His “On the Transmigration of Souls” was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic to commemorate the victims of the September 11 World Trade Center attacks.

He is presently at work on his third opera, “Doctor Atomic,” based on J. Robert Oppenheimer and the scientific and moral crises surrounding the creation of the world’s first atomic bomb in 1945.

Ticket prices for the Feb. 25 concert are $8.50 for the general public; $7 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $4 for full-time students. To order tickets, call Pick-Staiger at (847) 467-4000.