The Harvard Glee Club family mourns with the family of F. John Adams even as we celebrate the life of this remarkable man and accomplished musician. He is pictured here on Mount Washington in the Presidential Range in New Hampshire with the Lakes of the Clouds in the background. Thanks to Adam Finkel ’79 for this photo which he took circa 1982.
F. John was Conductor of the Holden Choruses at Harvard University from 1970 to 1978, during which time he prepared choruses for Leonard Bernstein, Michael Tilson Thomas, Erich Leinsdorf, Mstislav Rostropovich, and William Steinberg. He co-founded and served as music director of the Boston Classical Orchestra from 1980 to 1983, and was assistant conductor of Boston Lyric Opera’s Ring Cycle in 1983. In 1983, he joined the faculty of the New England Conservatory where he taught until 2007.He was assistant conductor of the Rhode Island Philharmonic from 1994 to 1996, and was also artistic director of its youth orchestra program. Adams was Leonard Bernstein’s assistant conductor and performed as a guest pianist, harpsichordist, and organist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa and Michael Tilson Thomas. He also served as music director of the New Bedford Symphony for 18 years and conducted the Concord Chorus for 20 years.
Awards include a Tanglewood Fellowship, a medal from Pope Paul VI, an honorary membership in the Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at Harvard University, and the Harvard Glee Club Medal. In addition, Adams edited motets of Josquin des Prez and Antoine Brumel for G. Schirmer and directed five recordings for the Musical Heritage Society.
F. John received his A.B., A.M., and Ph.D. from Harvard University and studied conducting with Frederik Prausnitz and Nadia Boulanger.
A Memorial Service was held in Cambridge on September 25, 2011 at The Memorial Church. We welcome your expressions of sympathy and remembrances of F. John which will be shared with his family. To view the Memorial Service Program, click F. John Adams Memorial Service Program.
Read John’s obituary by Gil Bliss as published by the Boston Globe on June 16, 2011 here.