American classical music might be younger than its European counterpart, where it originated, but the amalgamation of musical styles and forms that defines it makes it seductively idiosyncratic. For 40 years, composer John Adams has been at the very center of it all, one of our most important living composers. A 2003 Pulitzer Prize winner, Adams' music synthesizes minimalist techniques with large-scale Romantic idioms to produce sweeping and emotionally powerful statements. Adams turns 70 in February; with this program, the Orlando Phil continues its celebration of his milestone birthday – they recently performed his landmark 1978 piece Shaker Loops
– and his music. Saturday's program opens with Adams' accurately titled Short Ride in a Fast Machine
, a high-octane, five-minute fanfare for large orchestra. As well, Puerto Rican soprano María Laetitia will sing the mordant, mournful aria "Am I in Your Light?" from Adams' riveting opera Doctor Atomic
, about Dr. Robert Oppenheimer's historic Manhattan Project. It also includes two large-scale works not foreign to Adams' Romantic side: the virtuosic Rachmaninoff 3, featuring young soloist Colton Peltier from Juilliard, and Brahms' Third Symphony.
8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21 | Bob Carr Theater, 401 W. Livingston St. | 407-770-0071 | orlandophil.org