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Composers Datebook®

with host John Birge

Monday, February 15

Adams and Rouse anniversaries

Synopsis

Today we celebrate the birthday anniversaries of two notable baby boomers.

The American composer John Adams was born on this date in 1947 in Worcester, Massachusetts. After studies at Harvard, Adams moved to California in 1971, and in 1978 he became new music advisor to the San Francisco Symphony. With music director Edo de Waart, created the Symphony's “New and Unusual Music” series, and around that same time, Adams began composing some “new and unusual music” of his own.

Our second birthday anniversary today is that of the American composer Christopher Rouse, born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1949. After studies at Oberlin and Cornell, Rouse taught at Eastman, where, alongside courses on theory and composition, he offered students his scholarly spin on the history of rock ‘n’ roll. Rouse’s interest in rock was genuine, and, in 1988, he wrote a piece for eight percussionists entitled “Bonham”—a tribute to the Led Zeppelin drummer of that name.

On a more introspective note, the following year the St. Paul Chamber orchestra premiered work by Rouse entitled “Iscariot,” which quotes a Bach chorale. John Adams conducted that SPCO premiere, and it was to Adams that Rouse dedicated the score “in friendship and admiration.”

Music Played in Today's Program

John Adams (b. 1947) The Chairman Dances Baltimore Symphony; David Zinman, cond. Argo 444 454

Christopher Rouse (1949-2019) Bonham Baltimore Symphony; David Zinman, cond. Argo 444 454

Iscariot Colorado Symphony; Marin Alsop, cond. BMG 68410

Additional Information

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