Adam Guettel



Composer and Lyricist

Adam Guettel is a composer/lyricist living in New York City. His upcoming project, Millions, will have its first production in 2017. An opera based on The H.G. Wells Invisible Man will be produced by the Houston Grand Opera. His musical, The Light In the Piazza (cast album on Nonesuch Records), with a book by Craig Lucas, premiered on Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater's Vivian Beaumont Theater in April 2005 and went on to receive six 2005 Tony Awards including two for Mr. Guettel – Best Original Score, Best Orchestrations and a Grammy nomination for best cast recording. The Light In the Piazza also received five Drama Desk Awards, including two for Mr Guettel -- Best Music, and Best Orchestrations. He wrote music and lyrics for Floyd Collins, which received the 1996 Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical and earned Mr. Guettel the Obie Award for Best Music. Saturn Returns (recorded by Nonesuch as Myths and Hymns) was produced in an extended run at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in 1998. Accolades for Mr. Guettel include the Stephen Sondheim Award (1990), the ASCAP New Horizons Award (1997), and the American Composers Orchestra Award (2005). He received an honorary doctorate from Lehman College in 2007. 




Guettel’s tunes are richly textured and warmly atmospheric; like the Tuscan light of Spencer’s story, they create “the sense that everything is clear and visible, that nothing is withheld.” [...] Guettel’s music and lyrics take nothing from the razzle-dazzle bargain basement of feeling; they represent, instead, a genuine expense of spirit. Rather than selling a cheap-and-cheerful redemption, the show offers only the prospect of repair. “The Light in the Piazza” doesn’t want to make theatregoers feel good; it wants to make them feel deeply.
— John Lahr, the new yorker (The Light In The Piazza Review)
“The Light in the Piazza,” whose sublime original cast album [...] has the most intensely romantic score of any Broadway musical since “West Side Story” [...].
— stephen holden, the new york times (Piazza cast recording Review)
The theater composer Adam Guettel is so overwhelmingly gifted that any news of his activities stirs the kind of fervent expectations that surround Stephen Sondheim, and before that, Leonard Bernstein. [...] Mr. Guettel has a harmonic attunement and romantic temperament that make for music that conveys an almost demonic emotional intensity. Listening to his songs brings to mind accounts of how audiences for early performances of Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” fainted, overcome by the music’s beauty.
— Stephen Holden, The New York Times (54 Below Concert Review)
And Mr. Guettel establishes himself as a young composer of strength and sophistication, weaving strands from the Americana of Copland and the uneasy dissonance of Sondheim [...]
— Ben Brantley, The New York Times (Floyd Collins review)
But the music [...] is steadily absorbing, even if only intermittently melodious. One duet, “Let’s Walk,” is an unqualified hit, but the rest, without fully cohering, is also arresting. It is—to offer a classical parallel—as if a world weaned on Brahms were suddenly confronted with Schoenberg.
— john simon, new york magazine (light in the piazza review)

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