A John Adams UK Premiere



Thu 29 Oct 2015 7.30pm - 9.45pm
Barbican Hall, London

RAVEL Pavane pour une infante défunte
RAVEL Mother Goose
JOHN ADAMS Scheherazade.2 (UK Premiere)

John Adams conductor
Leila Josefowicz violin
London Symphony Orchestra

Tickets: £10 £16 £22 £29 £40

£3 online booking fee, £4 telephone booking fee per transaction - click here for more information on booking fees

download unspecifiedDownload the concert programme (PDF)

LSO Platform: Guildhall Artists
Barbican Hall 6pm, free entry

JOHN ADAMS Chamber Symphony

Simon Wills conductor
Ubu Ensemble: senior Guildhall School musicians


Family Workshop: Reveal Ravel
Fountain Room 6.15pm, £5 children £10 adults (including entry to the concert)
Suitable for 8- to 14-year-olds

A workshop for younger audience members, exploring Ravel's Mother Goose Suite before the concert.
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Essential American composer John Adams brings his own take on storytelling to the Barbican including a new dramatic symphony for violin and orchestra.

Performed by close collaborator and new music champion Leila Josefowicz, Adam’s latest work takes the idea of the original Scheherazade into the present day and 'imagines a modern woman storyteller/hostage whose strength of character and powers of endurance are tested over and over'. There are more traditional tales to be told in the first half with Ravel’s youthful ballet score Mother Goose, featuring Sleeping Beauty, Tom Thumb and Beauty and the Beast.


The New York Philharmonic and conductor Alan Gilbert premiered Scheherazade.2 in 2014 and have uploaded it to Soundcloud (starts at 55 mins 45 secs)


John Adams and violinist Leila Josefowicz in conversation and in rehearsal for the premiere in New York.


Reviews from the world premiere of Scheherazade.2, New York Philharmonic March 2015

Musical America
Rhythmically, there are traces of minimalism, but otherwise Adams’ music is tumultuous, quixotic, and hugely colorful, with sharp elbows at one end and shimmering strings at the other. Often he pairs the violin with the pungent sound of the cimbalom, which figures prominently throughout the piece. Add Scheherazade.2 to Adams’ list of topical explorations unafraid to speak the truth while persuasive in their beauty.

San Francisco Classical Voice
The violin's solo flights were raw and restless from the start. Her tone was defiant without being brash or glib, and lyrical sections did not descend into sentimentality. Josefowicz's Scheherazade was not content... the solo violin ended in an unresolved, interrupted thought, fading out dissonant. It was as if she knew how many more Scheherazade's were still trapped, and that many don't escape.

The Wall Street Journal
This is free-flowing, picturesque eclecticism that puts the narrative and its associated message (women should fight back) first, and style considerations well down the list. So the solo violin line climbs, sings and battles with such animation that you scarcely realise, at first, how virtuosic it is. Josefowicz embraced the idea of Scheherazade as a flesh-and-blood character and played the solo line with vehemence and passion, almost as if it were a spoken text.

New York Classical Review
A welcome return for a composer who, at his best, doesn't just create satisfying music but extends the classical tradition...Josefowicz was full of verve and intensity, conveying a heroic stance on stage. The violinist has to be Scheherazade and the soloist was a proud and indomitable presence.

"I'm not really good at Chamber Music," Adams confessed. "It takes me twenty or thirty minutes to get my jumbo off the runway." This wasn't a problem with Scheherazade.2. Adams proved an effective storyteller right up to the fourth and final movement's flight to freedom and fading rallentando.