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Ithaca College Faculty Member's New Book Examines John Adams' 'Nixon in China'

 ITHACA, NY — Timothy A. Johnson, associate professor of music theory, history and composition and chair of graduate studies at Ithaca College, has recently published “John Adams’s ‘Nixon in China’: Musical Analysis, Historical and Political Perspectives.” Johnson’s book examines American composer John Adams’ opera “Nixon in China,” which was inspired by former president Richard Nixon’s 1972 visit to China. After premiering at the Houston Grand Opera in 1987, Adams’s work has been performed in Europe and North America.

“This work by John Adams is one of the most frequently performed operas in the contemporary literature, Johnson said. “My goal in writing my book was to illuminate the opera and enhance listeners’ and scholars’ appreciation for this landmark work. This guide presents a detailed analysis of the music tied to historical and political contexts.”

“Note by note, line by line, Timothy Johnson crawls across what is perhaps the greatest conventional (opera-house) opera of the late 20th-century, and also grounds it in aspects of political context not well-remembered today,” said Kyle Gann, author and associate professor at Bard College. “It’s an impressive and thorough analysis of not only the music, but the historical gesture.”

This publication is Johnson’s third book, along with “Foundations of Diatonic Theory: A Mathematically Based Approach to Music Fundamentals” and “Baseball and the Music of Charles Ives: A Proving Ground,” which won the Sporting News-SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) Baseball Research Award.

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