Doctor Atomic Symphony


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Picc, 2 fl (2=picc), 3 ob (3=Eng hrn), 2 cl, bass cl (=clar 3), 2 bsn, contrabsn (=bsn 3), 4 hr, 3 tpt, 3 tmb, tuba, timp, 4 perc, harp, celesta, and strings

Duration: 24 minutes

First performance: August 21, 2007, BBC Symphony Orchestra, John Adams, conductor. North American premiere: February 7, 2008, Saint Louis Symphony, David Robertson, conductor

Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes

Doctor Atomic Symphony is a purely instrumental work drawn from the 2005 opera. It includes music from the opera’s overture, the Act II “panic” music, the “military matters” sections from Act I, and it culminates with an orchestral setting of Oppenheimer’s signature “Batter My Heart” aria that closes Act I of the opera. The score is dedicated to David Robertson, who gave the first American performances in Saint Louis and at Carnegie Hall in the spring of 2008.

For the main page on Doctor Atomic (click here)

Synopsis of Doctor Atomic (click here)

Interview with John Adams about Doctor Atomic. (click here)

For Alex Ross's "Countdown" article in The New Yorker go to


Websites about the opera :

Exploratorium Museum
Doctor Atomic


San Francisco Opera
Doctor Atomic: the Making of an Opera


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