John Adams accepts 18th Glashütte Original MusicFestivalAward

Saxon manufactory honours life’s work of exceptional American artist

John Adams
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On May 30, 2021 the composer, conductor and creative pathfinder John Adams received the 18th Glashütte Original MusicFestivalAward. The award ceremony took place in the course of a Dresden Music Festival concert streamed live around the world from New York. The Award, endowed with 25,000 Euros and accompanied by a trophy made by two students from the Glashütte Original watchmaking school, was presented to John Adams in recognition of his wide-ranging lifetime activities.

John Adams

John Adams can look back on a considerable body of work ranging from chamber music to opera and orchestral composition. A signature feature of his work is the fusion of classical music traditions and contemporary directions. The German watchmaker and the Dresden Music Festival also honoured the American composer for his exceptional cultural and social commitment and the humanistic character of his themes.

John Adams, deeply moved, commented: “Dresden has a great history in the arts and crafts and particularly in music. The names of von Weber, Wagner and Richard Strauss are inextricably tied to the city’s legendary past, a fact that I’ve been aware of for as long as I can remember. To be the recipient of this year’s Glashütte Original MusicFestivalAward is therefore a very special honour for me. Because of the current pandemic, the pleasure of my first visit to Dresden and to accept the award in person will regretfully not happen, but I am determined to make that trip as soon as possible in the near future, perhaps even to perform and hear my music there. This generous award will help to continue the work to which my wife and I have dedicated ourselves over recent years, including funding music lessons in American prisons, awarding grants for classical music education in economically and racially stressed communities, and commissioning and performing of new works by young composers.

John Adams

Jan Vogler, Director of the Dresden Music Festival, noted: “John Adams has inspired generations of composers, musicians and listeners with his music. We are very pleased to honour one of the great composers of our time, who also has many fans in Germany, with this year’s Glashütte Original MusicFestivalAward.”

In combining elements of classical music, jazz and pop, John Adams has created a new musical genre, to which people all over the world have welcomed with great enthusiasm. As a watch manufactory that is rich in tradition and innovative at once, we know how important it is to offer new interpretations of traditional craftsmanship and classic design, and to keep looking ahead,” added Roland von Keith, Managing Director and CEO of Glashütte Original.

The award ceremony took place in the course of a Dresden Music Festival concert, streamed live around the world from New York. The orchestral collective The Knights performed under the direction of Eric Jacobsen, with soloists Gil Shaham (violin) and Timo Andres (piano).

John Adams

18th annual Glashütte Original MusicFestivalAward

With the award to John Adams, Glashütte Original and the Dresden Music Festival pay tribute together for the 18th time to an exceptional figure in the world of music who has rendered outstanding service in teaching classical music and supporting up-and-coming young musicians. Each year, two students from the watchmaker’s own “Alfred Helwig” watchmaking school make the award trophy, whose design combines traditional craftsmanship with modern materials. The Flying Tourbillon symbolizes the virtuosity of the watchmakers and is considered one of the greatest achievements in the high art of watchmaking.

John Adams follows previous winners of the award, among them Joshua Bell, Joyce DiDonato, Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic, fado singer Mariza, conductor Andris Nelsons and cellist Steven Isserlis. Glashütte Original has been a committed supporter and partner of the Dresden Music Festival since 2004.

John Adams

About Glashütte Original

Glashütte Original represents the German art of watchmaking at its best, and can look back on an uninterrupted history that began in 1845. Located in the Saxon town of Glashütte, the manufactory brings traditional craftsmanship and innovative technologies together under one roof. The tradition-rich brand makes up to 95% of all movement components as well as the refined dials in-house. For more information about the brand and the individual collections, please visit:

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