Mark Stryker interviews John Adams. In addition to talking about his self development early on to be able to handle pressure, Adams had this to say about writing On the Transmigration of Souls a year after 9/11:
I suppose part of my image of myself is that I am an American composer and that I ought to be able to respond to something like this. But it was very difficult. I spent the first month just surfing the Internet looking, thinking, sifting things, trying to find what this piece could possibly be.