Adams @ 70: Celebrating Music of our Time
The Latest Update
Violinist Leila Josefowicz nominated for a Grammy Award!
Violinist Leila Josefowicz has been nominated for a Grammy Award for “Best Classical Instrumental Solo” for her performance on John Adams’ Scheherazade.2, recorded live at Powell Hall in February 2016 with the St. Louis Symphony led by Music Director David Robertson; Chester Englander is the cimbalom soloist. Adams’ “cinematic music goes a long way in unfolding a potent drama, masterfully illuminated by conductor David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony,” says NPR.
Premiere recording of ‘Scheherazade.2’ out now!
Today marks the release of John Adams‘s Scheherazade.2 on Nonesuch Records. The 50-minute work, which the composer, borrowing a term from Berlioz, calls a “dramatic symphony,” was written for the violinist Leila Josefowicz, who has played it with leading orchestras around the world since its 2015 premiere by the New York Philharmonic. The Nonesuch recording was made during February 2016 performances by the St. Louis Symphony led by Music Director David Robertson; Chester Englander is the cimbalom soloist.
Scheherazade.2 is available on iTunes, Amazon, and in the Nonesuch Store, where CD orders include a download of the complete album at checkout; the album is also available to purchase there as 96kHz/24bit HD FLAC files.
Adams’s “cinematic music goes a long way in unfolding a potent drama, masterfully illuminated by conductor David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony,” says NPR. “The fierceness and vulnerability [violinist] Leila Josefowicz expresses contributes to an award-caliber performance.” Scheherazade.2 “sets a whole new standard for narrative and theatrical vibrancy,” exclaims the San Francisco Chronicle.
Listen: John Adams’ “Scheherazade.2” Streaming in Full at NPR First Listen
Our recording of John Adams’ Scheherazade.2 is due out on Nonesuch Records next Friday, September 30th! But you don’t need to wait till then to hear it: the album is streaming in full at NPR First Listen…
“Over the course of four movements, no precise narrative is spelled out, yet Adams’ descriptive titles and his cinematic music go a long way in unfolding a potent drama, masterfully illuminated by conductor David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.”
JUST ANNOUNCED! John Adams’s “Scheherazade.2” Due September 30
Nonesuch Records will release John Adams’s Scheherazade.2 on September 30, 2016. The 50-minute work, which the composer, borrowing a term from Berlioz, calls a “dramatic symphony,” was written for the violinist Leila Josefowicz, who has played it with leading orchestras around the world since its 2015 premiere by the New York Philharmonic. The Nonesuch recording was made during February 2016 performances by the St. Louis Symphony led by Music Director David Robertson; Chester Englander is the cimbalom soloist. It is available to pre-order now on iTunes and in the Nonesuch Store, where CD orders include a download of the complete album available starting on release day.
Post-Dispatch review: “Violinist Leila Josefowicz brings intensity to John Adams’ ‘Scheherazade.2′”
“Josefowicz was her typical animated, virtuoso self, standing for nearly an hour, and playing the complicated score from memory. She stormed through thorny passages without breaking a sweat and became tender or aggressive as the score demanded. Conductor David Robertson and the orchestra (with Chester Englander doing an expert turn on the cimbalom) were at home in this complicated score, sometimes juxtaposed to the violin as a foil, sometimes providing an atmospheric backdrop for it, and at other times being a strong antagonist.”
Read the complete review, here.
First recordings complete!
Live recordings of Scheherazade.2 went according to schedule this past weekend. Shown here are conductor David Robertson (second from left), composer John Adams (middle) and soloist Leila Josefowicz (far right) conferring backstage in between the Saturday, February 20th concert and that night’s patch session. Concert reviews coming soon!
The St. Louis Symphony respectfully requests a grant from New Music USA in support of its upcoming recording project featuring two works by American composer John Adams: Scheherazade.2, a Dramatic Symphony for Violin and Orchestra, and his Violin Concerto. Internationally acclaimed violinist Leila Josefowicz, a long-time champion of Adams’ work, will join the GRAMMY® Award-winning STL Symphony under Music Director David Robertson for the live recordings to be made at historic Powell Hall in St. Louis, MO over two concert weekends.
Written as a reflection on the hardship and unfair treatment of women throughout history, Adams treats the violinist in this piece as the legendary Scheherazade. She is the embodiment of the heroine as a fearless and empowered artist. Commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Adams wrote the piece specifically for Josefowicz saying, “I find Leila a perfect embodiment of that kind of empowered strength and energy that a modern Scheherazade would possess.” Josefowicz performed the world premiere of Scheherazade.2 with the New York Philharmonic in 2014. Performed for the first time in St. Louis in 2016, this will be the premiere recording of Adams’ Scheherazade.2.
Adams’ Violin Concerto will be recorded in September 2016. An example of “hypermelody”, Adams describes how “the violin spins one long phrase after another without stop for nearly the full thirty-five minutes of the piece.” Commissioned as a piece for both the concert hall and the ballet stage, Jorja Fleezanis performed the Concerto’s world premiere with the Minnesota Orchestra in 1994.
Adams handpicked Josefowicz and the STL Symphony under Robertson for what he believes will be a definitive recording of the works. In fact, this project represents the third recording collaboration between the STL Symphony, Adams and Nonesuch Records – the relationship has flourished over time.
In 2008 we recorded Adams’ Dr. Atomic Symphony and Guide to Strange Places. Released by Nonesuch Records in 2009, that recording was named iTunes’ Best Contemporary Classical Album of 2009, and earned the #1 spot on the Times of London’s “Ten Best Classical Albums of the Noughties [2000’s]”. Our 2013 recordings of Adams’ City Noir and Saxophone Concerto were released by Nonesuch in 2014. BBC Music Magazine gave the album five-stars while NPR named it one of the top ten “Best Classical Albums of 2014”, calling the orchestra’s performances “invigorating and top-notch”. Nominated for two 2015 GRAMMY® Awards, the album ultimately won for “Best Orchestral Performance”.
Our sound engineer is Paul Hennerich who served as Assistant Engineer on our prior two recordings with Adams, in addition to overseeing recordings of all orchestral concerts at Powell Hall for over twenty years. Nonesuch Records, recognized as a leading label in the contemporary classical, classical, jazz, world, and alternative music, among other genres, will serve as the album’s producer.
The anticipated timeline for our project is one year, from the first recordings in February 2016 to the album’s targeted release in February 2017, which coincides with the composer’s 70th birthday.
Recorded live at Powell Hall in October 2013, this selection is excerpted from the debut recording of John Adams’ Saxophone Concerto and features soloist Timothy McAllister on saxophone with the STL Symphony, conducted by Music Director David Robertson. The recording was released by Nonesuch Records on May 6, 2014 as part of the “City Noir” album, for which the STL Symphony won the 2015 GRAMMY Award for “Best Orchestral Performance”.
Recorded live at Powell Hall in February 2013, this selection is excerpted from the STL Symphony’s GRAMMY® Award-winning “City Noir” recording. Comprised of the title piece and John Adams’ 2012 Saxophone Concerto, the album won the 2015 GRAMMY® for “Best Orchestral Performance”. Featuring soloist Timothy McAllister on saxophone with the STL Symphony, conducted by Music Director David Robertson, “City Noir” was released by Nonesuch Records on May 6, 2014.
This selection represents the first recording collaboration between the St. Louis Symphony, conducted by David Robertson, and John Adams. Recorded live at Powell Hall in 2008, this was the premiere recording of Adams’ “Doctor Atomic Symphony” and his 2001 “Guide to Strange Places”. The album was released by Nonesuch Records on July 28, 2009.
Start and End Dates
02/19/2016 — 02/28/2017
St. Louis, Missouri