Author Archives: John Adams

Juilliard Commencement Speech

The wonderful, astonishing truth is that the arts are utterly useless. You can’t eat music or poetry or dance. You can’t drive your car on a sonnet or wear it on your back to shield you from the elements. This “uselessness” is why politicians and other painfully literal-minded people during times of budget crises (which is pretty much all the time now) can’t wait to single the arts out for elimination. They consider that what we do can’t honestly be compared to the real business of life.

Remembering Leon Kirchner: Anxiety, Restlessness, and Ecstasy

Somehow it still seems fitting that I should always associate my apprenticeship with Leon Kirchner with the stormy years of the late sixties and early seventies, an era full of anxiety, restlessness and ecstasy; those are words that pretty much sum up Leon’s music.