Artistic Director

Artistic Director

RICHARD ADAMS is the founder and artistic director of Opus 21, a not-for-profit performing arts ensemble whose concerts feature a diversity of art music and crossover works.

As a composer of contemporary classical music, Adams often draws on both classical and popular musical elements. His work has been described by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as “effectively integrating the physicality of rock with the structure of classical music.” Adams has received national and international recognition for his music through awards and fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Chamber Music America, ASCAP, Meet the Composer, the MacDowell Colony, the Society of Composers Inc., and the Aspen Music Festival, among others. He has been commissioned by and received performances from ensembles throughout the United States, including the Albany Symphony, the Memphis Symphony, the Tulsa Philharmonic, the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, the Louisiana Sinfonietta, Sequitur, and the Dogs of Desire.

Several of Adams’s works have been recorded for commercial release. One of his most recent orchestral pieces, Brutal Reality , was recorded by the Albany Symphony Orchestra for the Albany Records label. Under Oath , a cabaret song for soprano, two clarinets, viola, cello, and double bass, was recorded by Sequitur and Kristin Norderval for Koch International Classics. Current recording projects include Electric Anthology , a multi-movement work for electric violin and amplified chamber orchestra featuring violinist Mary Rowell.

Adams studied composition at the University of Michigan, the Yale School of Music, Louisiana State University, and the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France. His teachers have included some of the most prominent composers in the United States: William Albright, Leslie Bassett, William Bolcom, Martin Bresnick, Dinos Constantinides, Michael Daugherty, and Jacob Druckman. [April 2007]