Violin Concerto (Adams)

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This article is about the violin concerto. For Peter Martins' 1994 ballet to this music, see Adams Violin Concerto.

The Violin Concerto by the American composer John Adams was written in 1993. Its premiere was in 1994 by Jorja Fleezanis with the Minnesota Orchestra. Fleezanis also collaborated with Adams in writing the violin solo.[citation needed]

The piece was co-commissioned by the New York City Ballet, leading to a strong sense of rhythm throughout the entire work. For it, Adams received the University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition.[citation needed]

The solo violin is almost unceasing as the violin weaves through the orchestra, which serves primarily as a backdrop for the violin.[citation needed]

The Violin Concerto has been described as "the most original approach to the genre since the Alban Berg Concerto".[1]


The work is in three movements:

  1. Quarter-note = 78
  2. Chaconne: Body through which the dream flows
  3. Toccare.

The work is dedicated to David Huntley of Boosey & Hawkes.[citation needed]


The work calls for solo violin, 2 flutes (both doubling piccolos), 2 oboes (2nd. doubles cor anglais), 2 clarinets (2nd. doubling bass clarinet), 2 bassoons, 2 horns in F, trumpet in C, timpani, guiro, 5 bongo drums, 4 conga drums, bass drum, suspended cymbal, tambourine, claves, high cowbell, vibraphone, marimba, tubular bells, 2 synthesizers, and strings (minimum 6 1st. violins, 6 2nd., 5 violas, 5 cellos, 2 double basses)


  1. ^ Christopher Latham, review of recording by Chloë Hanslip, Limelight, January 2007, p. 47

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