Particularly influenced by Steve Reich, the brilliant John Adams has developed a minimalistic, personal style that is recognized and admired all over the world. Like many of his operas, Doctor Atomic is based on recent world historical events—here, the effusive Robert Oppenheimer, "father of the atomic bomb," anxiously awaits the bomb's first test in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Adams adapted the work into a symphony, comprising its three main acts: from the laboratory setting where the experiment is to take place, to the panicked feeling that follows the first tests, up to the mystical final note inspired by a John Donne poem on the Holy Trinity: "Batter my heart, three person'd God..."
In the second half of the program, Adams conducts his 2015 violin concerto, Scheherazade.2, which restages the tale of the One Thousand and One Nights heroine as a strong woman navigating a patriarchial society, incarnated by the solo violin part. The work was composed specifically for Canadian-American virtuoso Leila Josefowicz and co-commissioned by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, who perform it to perfection. The evening then closes out with Tromba Lontana, an orchestral fanfare written to mark the 150th anniversary of Texas's independence from Mexico in 1836.
2008 New Year's Eve Concert