John Adams’s “Feminist” Concerto

American composer John Adams
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Adams

An Interview with Composer John Adams

Composer John Adams isn’t one to shy away from controversial subjects (the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the atom bomb come to mind). Lately, he’s circled back to the Arab world to examine the touchy issue of women’s rights.

In the Spring of 2015, the 68-year-old Pulitzer Prize-winner unveiled a concerto, Scheherazade.2, a work he calls a “feminist piece,” loosely based on an original narrative of a courageous woman facing persecution by “men with beards.” According to the composer, the spirit of the piece grew from his impressions of the violinist for whom it was written, Leila Josefowicz.

Hear the interview:

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