John Coolidge Adams: A Modern-Day Beethoven

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In my view, the artist who comes closest to being a modern-day Beethoven is John Coolidge Adams, a popular American composer (born in 1947) who combines minimalism with different sounds of the romantic compositions. That is because his musical compositions are both more conservative and more radical than those of his minimalist forebears. John Adams’ operas address a broad range of issues, including terrorism and politics, and his work act as a stepping stone between minimalism and the more challenging modern-day composers.

            Adams has worked on several compositions including the 1985’s “Harmonielehre,” the 2002’s “On the Transmigration of Souls,” the 1978’s “Shaker Loops,” as well a choral piece remembering the September 11 victims, which won him the 2003’s Pulitzer Prize for Music. Adams has also composed several operas, including the 1987’s “Nixon in China,” and the 2005’s “Doctor Atomic” among others. Adams’ works embrace repetition as a means of attracting the attention of his audience, and the content of his music is more varied and detailed. I consider his musical compositions radical because he fuses the purity of various minimalist processes with a broad range of richer references. On the other hand, I consider Adams’ works as conservative because he tries to restore or conserve old ideas of music harmony and flow in his new style.

            Additionally, Adams' music has less complexity, and he has a way of organizing the diversity of the sources of his music into his own unique, homogenous language. Therefore, although some people will disagree with my opinion about John Adam’s work, I believe that John Adams stands as one of the contemporary musical artists who come closest to being a modern-day Beethoven.

October 05, 2023


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Classical Music

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