[ Concerts ]

John Adams to conduct Yale Philharmonia in New Haven Oct. 17, New York Oct. 19

“John Adams is arguably one of the best composer-conductors since Benjamin Britten…”
— Gramophone Magazine
October 13, 2014
John Adams, guest conductor and composer

John Adams, guest conductor and composer

Sunday, October 19 at 5 pm at Avery Fisher Hall, the Yale School of Music’s eighth season of the Yale in New York series opens with John Adams conducting the Yale Philharmonia.

Adams is considered “not only one of America’s cleverest composers but a sharp conductor too” (David Murray, Financial Times). This concert showcases Adams’ dual roles as conductor/composer with his Beethoven-inspired piece Absolute Jest alongside Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 and Stravinsky’s Orpheus. A concerto for string quartet and orchestra, Absolute Jest also features the Brentano String Quartet in its debut year as Yale’s Quartet-in-Residence.

Beethoven’s music is intricately woven into Absolute Jest, “a provocative… Adams-ized mélange of late Beethoven” (Los Angeles Times). Hence Adams’ choice to pair his own work with a Beethoven symphony. The Fourth Symphony is sometimes overshadowed by the composer’s third and fifth symphonies; Robert Schumann called it “a slender Grecian maiden between two Nordic giants.”

Stravinsky’s Orpheus rounds out the program. The piece, which premiered in New York City in 1948, boasts “translucent scoring and evanescent lyricism… [which] confer a distinctive beauty” (Joseph Horowitz).

Yale in New York has garnered a reputation for its creative and diverse offerings, with frequent collaborations between Yale’s distinguished faculty and its exceptional network of current students and alumni.

General admission tickets at $30 ($15 for students with ID) are available online or by calling the Avery Fisher box office at (212) 721-6500. Tickets to the October 17 preview performance in New Haven may be reserved here.

“An audacious and affectionate riff on Beethoven’s scherzos … dense, roiling and furiously inventive as a gripping 25-minute sonic joy ride”
— Musical America on Absolute Jest (2012)

The concert at Avery Fisher Hall follows a preview performance of the same program on October 17 at 7:30 p.m. in Woolsey Hall in New Haven, CT. It is the culmination of a week-long John Adams residency at Yale, which awarded him an honorary Doctor of Music degree in 2013. Previously, he gave the Tanner Lectures on Human Values at the University in 2009.

The performance opens the 2014–2015 Yale in New York concert season. The series, under the artistic direction of David Shifrin, encompasses two more concerts, both in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. On December 7, 2014, singers from Yale Opera will perform treasures from the Frederick R. Koch Collection at Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. On January 24, 2015, the acclaimed Yale Percussion Group performs Mauricio Kagel’s theatrical Dressur alongside music gleaned from the ensemble’s recent musical trip to Ghana.

 “There is nothing particularly new about one composer internalizing the music of another and ‘making it his own,’” notes Adams. “Composers are drawn to another’s music to the point where they want to live in it, and that can happen in a variety of fashions.” Adams describes Absolute Jest as “the most extended experience in pure ‘invention’ that I’ve ever undertaken… a thrilling lesson in counterpoint, in thematic transformation and formal design.”
— John Adams on Absolute Jest (2012)