about the artists
Composer, conductor, and creative thinker John Adams occupies a unique position in the world of American music. His works, both operatic and symphonic, stand out among contemporary classical compositions for their depth of expression, their brilliance of sound, and the profoundly humanist nature of their themes. Over the past 40 years, Adams’ music has played a decisive role in turning the tide of contemporary musical aesthetics away from academic modernism and toward a more expansive, expressive language, entirely characteristic of his New World surroundings.
Works spanning more than three decades have entered the repertoire and are among the most performed of all contemporary classical music, among them Harmonielehre, Shaker Loops, Chamber Symphony, Absolute Jest, Short Ride in a Fast Machine, and his violin concerto. His stage works, in collaboration with director Peter Sellars, include Girls of the Golden West (2017), Nixon in China (1987), The Death of Klinghoffer (1991), El Nino (2000), Doctor Atomic (2005), A Flowering Tree (2006), and the Passion oratorio, The Gospel According to the Other Mary (2012).
Jon Else is an American documentary filmmaker and professor at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He directs the documentary program. Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, Else moved west for college. He earned a BA (English, 1968) from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MA (Communication, 1974) from Stanford University. He directed and produced major documentaries beginning in 1980, with one about the work during World War II at Los Alamos in developing and testing the atomic bomb. Another was about the Exploratorium. In 1987, he made a documentary about the civil rights movement from 1954-1965, based on the history of the same name, Eyes on the Prize. In 1988, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1988.