"The afternoon’s headline event was the U.S. premiere of an ebullient new work by San Francisco composer Samuel Adams, one that for the most part made canny use of the orchestra’s trademark blend of suavity and vigor... this was a suitably vivacious performance, one that caught the energy and charm of Adams’ writing."
— The San Francisco Chronicle
"Shade Studies was a marvelously constructed meditation on a narrow dynamic field. Softly played notes accompanied by barely audible electronic samples forced our ears to find the spaces between the “real” sound and the “electronic” sound. It was magic."
— The San Diego Union Tribune
"Mr. Adams’s “Drift and Providence” (2011-12) was the high point. In five sections, the piece is an oceanic journey out and in, in that sense like the tides of John Luther Adams’s “Become Ocean." It doesn’t aim to be as physically depictive as that work, nor as impressionistic as Debussy’s “La Mer,” to which Mr. Adams alludes in the colors of his glisteningly alluring piece. From its metallic opening of scraped cowbells, sizzle cymbals and brake drums — the city and the sea, indivisible — it deals in relaxed swishes and frenetic crests and foams. Moments of molecular chaos eventually subside to a quick falling away at the end, a backward glance at pebbles falling down a beach. A smart, lovely work, it received an atmospheric and committed performance."
— The New York Times
"Opening the concert was Samuel Adams' new composition, Movements (for us and them), commissioned by the ACO, and for me this performance stole the show.
Adams explains the work as a response to the baroque concerto grosso form, in which he explores the relationship between the composer, orchestra and the audience. Adams clearly had the measure of the ACO and his work fed their strengths: extreme responsiveness; swift intuitive communication; perceptive interpretation of experimental music; consummate skill creating sound textures... I was moved by the subtle emotional power of this new work."
— The Sydney Morning Herald
"Adams' Light Readings, a MusicNOW commission, was the first major Adams score to be heard in Chicago. The 35-minute piece made a forceful first impression rather in inverse proportion to the expressive subtlety, economy and restraint with which the composer deploys his 25 singers... Samuel Adams' own musical voice is canny and assured. He has original ideas to express, and he expresses them well."
— The Chicago Tribune