Recently named a fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Samuel Adams (b. 1985, San Francisco, CA) is quickly gaining a reputation for his atmospheric and lyircal music. His work has been hailed as “mesmerizing” and “music of a composer with a personal voice and keen imagination” by The New York Times, “canny and assured” by The Chicago Tribune and “wondrously alluring” by The San Francisco Chronicle.
In May 2018, Adams's new Chamber Concerto was premiered by violinist Karen Gomyo with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen to mark the 20th anniversary of the CSO's contemporary series MusicNOW. The piece was hailed as "hypnotic, endlessly varied and natural" by Classical Voice America and music of "allusive subtlety and ingenuity" by the Chicago Tribune.
Highlights of the 2018/19 season include a new work for the Australian Chamber Orchestra, which was toured in both Australia and the United States, and the completion of a new string quartet for Chicago-based Spektral Quartet.
Last season, Adams's many words of love was toured by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and had performances at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, and in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The piece had an additional performance with the New World Symphony in Miami, Florida the following March. Adams's recent Sonatas, written for pianist David Fung, were performed at the Hochschule für Musik in Hamburg and at the Kennedy Center.
Adams served as the curator for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's MusicNOW series from 2015-2018, a period that saw the commissioning of nine new works, including Amy Beth Kirsten's SAVIOR and a new work by Manual Cinema, as well as the development of an audiovisual collaboration with the Art Institute of Chicago. He has also curated for the San Francisco Symphony as part of their experimental SoundBox series.
Adams has held residencies at Civitella Ranieri (Umbria, IT), Visby International Centre for Composers (Visby, SE), Avaloch Farm (Boscawen, NH) and Ucross (Ucross, WY). He is a 2019 Djerassi Fellow.
A committed educator, Adams frequently engages in projects with young musicians. In 2015, he worked with the Negaunee Institue of Music to establish the Civic Orchestra New Music Workshop, a program for emerging composers. In 2014, he was in residence with The National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, for which he composed a work that was premiered under the baton of David Robertson. Adams also regularly works with the students of The Crowden Music Center (Berkeley, CA) and maintains a private teaching studio.
Adams grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area where he attended Berkeley's Crowden School. He went on to study at Stanford University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in composition and electroacoustic music while also working as a bassist in the San Francisco improvised music community. He received a master's degree in composition from The Yale School of Music.