New John Adams Documentary Film by Mark Kidel to Premiere on BBC4 TV
American Master: A Portrait of John Adams, a new film documentary about composer John Adams by Mark Kidel, will be broadcast for the first time on BBC4 TV this Friday, March 8, at 8 PM. The film, which offers a journey through the musical landscapes of the composer, will be repeated on BBC HD on March 15. It is an Ex Nihilo / ARTE France co-production, in association with the BBC. You can watch an excerpt from the film below, featuring Road Movies, Adams's 1995 piece for violin and piano, and his 2003 piece for electric violin and orchestra, The Dharma at Big Sur.
The 60-minute film will also be screened at Barbican Cinema 2 in London on March 16 at 5 PM as a prelude to the European premiere that night at Barbican Hall of Adams's The Gospel According to the Other Mary with the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.
American Master: A Portrait of John Adams tells the story of John Adams’s life and evokes his music’s connection to the American landscape in series of specially shot sequences filmed by the award-winning cinematographer Jon Else. The film is an account of the development of Adams’s music from its beginnings in minimalism through the much wider world of references he draws on today. The film includes extracts from major works including Harmonium, Road Movies, Lollapalooza, and the operas Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, and Doctor Atomic. There are also specially shot rehearsals of his Absolute Jest (which recently received its European premiere at the Barbican) and The Gospel According to the Other Mary (with Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Philharmonic) and an account of one of the movements of Adams’s string piece Shaker Loops.
Mark Kidel is an award-winning arts documentary filmmaker working in the UK, France, Germany, and the US. Recent films include Coloring Light: The artist Brian Clarke and Set the Piano Stool on Fire, a film about Alfred Brendel and his pupil Kit Armstrong. Kidel's multi-award winning film about Ravi Shankar was recently shown again on BBC4. He has just finished a film in which Martin Amis explores his sense of Englishness and is working on a documentary about Elvis Costello. Read a few of Kidel's thoughts on A Portrait of John Adams at theartsdesk.com.
John Adams's full evening Passion oratorio, The Gospel According to the Other Mary, receives its stage premiere this Thursday, March 7, at Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles before embarking on an international tour to London, Lucerne, Paris, and New York (March 16–27). The premiere production is by Adams's longtime collaborator Peter Sellars, creator of the work's libretto, and performers include the Los Angeles Philharmonic and LA Master Chorale conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.