John Adams's Doctor Atomic Symphony Gets World Premiere at BBC Proms (and on the Web)

Classic Arts News   John Adams's Doctor Atomic Symphony Gets World Premiere at BBC Proms (and on the Web)
The Doctor Atomic Symphony, an orchestral work (re-)composed by John Adams from the music of his 2005 opera Doctor Atomic, receives its world premiere tonight at the BBC Proms in London.

Performing at the Royal Albert Hall will be the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Proms' house band, under the composer's baton. Also on the program is the suite from Aaron Copland's score for Billy the Kid and Adams's own piano concerto Century Rolls, with Olli Mustonen as the soloist.

The concert, broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, begins at 7:30 p.m. U.K. time / 2:30 p.m. U.S. Eastern time / 1830h GMT. As with all the Prom concerts, this performance will be streamed live at the BBC's website ( and will be available for listening on demand at the site for seven days after broadcast.

This was not supposed to have been the work's world premiere: that honor had been planned for this past March at Carnegie Hall, with David Robertson conducting the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. (The SLSO and Carnegie jointly commissioned the adaptation with the BBC.) Adams called off the March premiere, saying in a statement, "I realized while working in earnest on composing the Doctor Atomic Symphony that the process of developing a symphony based on music drawn from the opera Doctor Atomic was creatively a much more time-consuming project than originally anticipated."

Robertson and the SLSO will give the Doctor Atomic Symphony's U.S. premiere this winter, with performances on February 7 and 8 at Powell Symphony Hall in St. Louis and on February 16 at Carnegie Hall.

Meanwhile, the complete opera Doctor Atomic, which had its European premiere in June of this year at the Holland Festival in Amsterdam, runs at Lyric Opera of Chicago in December and January of this coming season. Last week, the Metropolitan Opera and English National Opera announced a new co-production of the work, directed by Penny Woolcock, for the 2008-09 season.

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