Adam Romey


Hometown: St. Paul, MN

Alma maters: Wilfrid Laurier University, B.A.; Glenn Gould School, A.D.; Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, M.M.

Photos by Matt Dine and Shaun MAder


Awards/Competitions: Grant recipient, 2014–15 Frank Huntington Beebe Fund for Musicians; Winner, 2009 Ken Murray Concerto Competition

Appearances: Windfest, 2009; Centre for Opera Studies in Italy Festival, 2011–13, 2015; Brevard Music Festival, 2014; Weimar Bach Academy, 2016

What is your earliest memory of classical music? I was obsessed with Mozart’s The Magic Flute as a toddler and would watch videos of it constantly, sometimes twice a day.

When did you realize you wanted to pursue music as a career? When I started to study Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring in high school, I realized that I couldn’t picture any other center to my life.

What do you think orchestra concerts should look like in the 21st Century? While a one-size-fits-all solution can be very attractive, I feel strongly that the future is about a wide variety of options that are tailored to serve each community and audience. For some audiences, the music in the most basic, unpackaged form possible is enough. For many others, there is much value in a point of connection through elements such as context, a frame highlighting relevance to their own experience of contemporary life, or innovative approaches to audience participation in concerts.

Who is your biggest inspiration? My mom and my sister. My mom has compassion, discipline, integrity, and a sense of service; my sister has a deep self-knowledge, desire to be impactful, brutal honesty, and the fortitude to make tough decisions. They never cease to amaze!

What is your favorite piece of music, and why do you love it? I love too many pieces to list, but I love music by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Reich, Glass, Mozart, Unsuk Chin, Julius Eastman, Joan Tower, Jennifer Higdon, Ana Sokolovic, Anna Þorvaldsdóttir, Heitor Villa-Lobos . . .

What has been your favorite experience as a musician? Performances of Georg Friedrich Haas’ In Vain; Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony; Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring; Mozart’s operas; Handel’s Messiah; and a number of Bach Cantatas

Favorite non-classical musician or band: Radiohead, and lots of indie hip-hop and rock from Minnesota

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to and why? The summit of Mount Rigi outside Luzern, Switzerland. The view commanded respect and brought perspective, and the vast landscape was humbling.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us: I used to play in two rock bands and a jazz band . . . on guitar!

Piece of advice for a young classical musician: While it’s definitely important to focus on the fundamentals of your instrument, always return to phrasing and atmosphere because they give life to the music.