Timothy Adams Jr., the Mildred Goodrum Heyward Professor in Music, was named Chair of the Percussion Department at the University of Georgia Hugh Hodgson School of Music in fall 2010. A master educator, Mr. Adams’ students have seen great success around the country and the world as performers, educators, and music therapists.
Prior to joining the faculty at UGA, Mr. Adams held the post of Principal Timpanist of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for fifteen years and was Professor of Music at Carnegie Mellon University. During his tenure in Pittsburgh, Adams spent ten summers as Percussion faculty at the Brevard Music Center where he was frequently a featured soloist and recitalist.
An orchestra musician of the highest caliber for over 30 years, Adams began his entrée into playing professionally while still in high school as a substitute percussionist and timpanist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
Adams received both his Bachelors and Masters degrees at the Cleveland Institute of Music under the tutelage of the great Cloyd Duff, Richard Weiner, and Paul Yancich of the Cleveland Orchestra. During this time, Adams became first call substitute percussionist with the Cleveland Orchestra, and was also utilized as keyboard substitute.
While attending the Cleveland Institute of Music, Adams spent two summers as a fellowship recipient of the Tanglewood Music Center, performing under the batons of Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Masur, Elliott Carter, Trevor Pinnock, Seiji Ozawa, Michael Tilson Thomas, and John Williams.
Before completing his undergraduate degree, Adams won the Principal Timpani Position with the Canton Symphony orchestra, a position he held for five years before being hired by the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, where he played for four years before moving on to become the Principal Timpanist of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. It was during this time, he also held the position of Principal Percussionist of the Eastern Music Festival and held a faculty position at Butler University.
Mr. Adams has played in most of the major concert halls in Europe, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, China, and Malaysia, and has performed under the batons of Lorin Maazel, Pierre Boulez, Manfred Honeck, Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, Robert Shaw, Sir Andre Previn, Sir Neville Marriner, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Raymond Leppard, Mariss Jansons, Charles Dutoit, and Marvin Hamlisch. Adams has performed with such notable soloists as Luciano Pavarotti, Jessye Norman, Andre Watts, Yo Yo Ma, Renee Fleming, Emanuel Ax, Lynn Harrell, Lang Lang, Midori, Pinchas Zukerman, Patti Austin, Chaka Kahn, Della Reese, Tony Bennett, James Taylor, Arturo Sandoval, Bobby McFerrin, Terence Blanchard, Brice Winston, Dave Brubeck, Marcus Roberts and Burt Bacharach.
As a soloist, Adams has appeared with the Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Hartford, Knoxville, and Asheville symphony orchestras, as well as the Florida Philharmonic.
A champion of the music of our time, Adams has had several works commissioned for him, including, The Messenger concerto for percussion and orchestra, by James Oliverio, which he premiered to great acclaim with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; The Healer concerto for percussion and orchestra by Lucas Richman, premiered with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra; Primal Instincts concerto for percussion and orchestra, by Bill Banfield premiered with the Indianapolis Symphony; Tarantula concerto for marimba and orchestra by Larry Baker, premiered with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; Interzones for solo vibraphone and prerecorded tape by Bruce Hamilton; Rituals for solo timpani by Bruce Hamilton; and Quicksilver Pieces for solo vibraphone by David Liptak.
Adams is a prolific composer, having written solo, and chamber works for percussion published under Mostly Marimba Publications. His timpani etude book, entitled, “75 Etudes for the Accomplished Timpanist” is self-published under his own Demery Bennett Music. In 2008, Adams premiered his composition, Kyoto duo concerto for percussion and violin with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Andrés Cardénés as violin soloist.
His educational DVD, entitled Lift, is a culmination of his tireless commitment to educating our future and current educators on how to effectively teach the entire battery of percussion instruments.
As a published author, Adams regularly contributes to The Instrumentalist publication.
Adams was featured on the award winning children's television show, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. He demonstrated various percussion instruments in an episode entitled "Noisy and Quiet."
Adams film soundtrack credits are, The Caveman's Valentine featuring Samuel L. Jackson and Miracle at St. Anna, a film directed by Spike Lee. Both film scores were composed by Grammy Award winning jazz trumpeter and composer, Terence Blanchard.
A little known fact about Timothy Adams, Jr. is that he was a founding member and keyboardist of the rock band, “The Exotic Birds”. The band recorded two records and appeared on MTV and VH1 on a regular rotation. Upon Adams’ departure from the band, Nine Inch Nails own, Trent Reznor, took up Adams’ former position as keyboardist.
Timothy Adams proudly endorses Zildjian Cymbals, Remo Drum Heads, Freer Percussion, Mike Balter Mallets, Black Swamp Percussion, Pearl/Adams Percussion and Vater Drum Sticks.
Adams was born and raised in Covington, GA and currently lives in Athens with his wife, Kimberly Toscano Adams, and their three dogs.