As the son of scholarship- and fellowship-funded, Juilliard-trained pianists and, later, two devoted music teachers, Adam also studied on scholarship in the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Program with the late violinist Mitchell Stern, a founding member of the American String Quartet and a student of modern technique masters Ivan Galamian and Dorothy DeLay, as well as the Guarneri String Quartet's Arnold Steinhardt. Adam's college-level studies took him to the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Juilliard's Shirley Givens and the Queen Elizabeth competition-winning soloist Berl Senofsky, also former Galamian students; it was there that Adam studied chamber music with early Juilliard String Quartet violinist Early Carlyss and the musicologists Piero Weiss and John Spitzer. A part-time job for Adam, aside from gigging around the mid-Atlantic, was playing in the graduate conducting students' training orchestra.
Adam was a scholarship student during summers at the Aspen Music Festival and Tanglewood (read an NPR essay about his experience at the latter here). His summer teachers and coaches included Paul Kantor, also a former DeLay student, as well as David Geber (for chamber music), a cellist and founding member of the American String Quartet. Adam worked as a performing orchestral and chamber musician in the Washington, DC; Baltimore; and New York City areas; he’s taught privately in those areas as well as in Los Angeles. He’s also a writer, music critic, and former NPR cultural producer who has broadcast NPR essays and written on music for many newspapers, periodicals, and journals. Adam's performances have taken him to Lincoln Center, Cremona (Italy), and many other notable music venues, including LA's Largo.
As a violin teacher, Adam is primarily focused on beginners with basic experience sight-reading notated music to college-level students, as well as adults. A former chamber coach at the Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts in New York, he also teaches and coaches chamber music, and is especially keen on coaching string quartets; that pursuit is extremely helpful and fun for student musicians. If you or your student wants to work with Adam in a chamber music setting, you may not need to have, say, four members ready. Adam may be able to match you with other area students who have expressed interest -- or coach duos, trios, and on the larger level, chamber ensembles. Adam may also sometimes bring in other professionals to help demonstrate, and/or skilled piano accompanists.
Adam was grounded in the effective and efficient methods of modern technique but also has deep experience with the ways of the old masters, and he likes to fuse both schools as well as encourage students to discover new music, and new ways of playing the instrument, possibly including work with apps and recording technology (pending a student’s interest).
Adam also likes to incorporate relevant music theory into lessons, and to teach technique and theory through music. Adam focuses predominantly on the Western violin and stringed-instrument repertoire, but he can teach and arrange popular and historic tunes, and he can also help students learn to write about music, if they’re so inclined, as well as play with rock bands, in the manner of current groups like Arcade Fire.
Adam still enjoys an independent journalism and editing career. He plays guitar and keyboard casually, and he writes songs and music in a variety of “non-classical” genres. Check out the rest of this site to see some of his published work, and listen here to an NPR essay about violin lessons that Adam recorded right after college, featuring him and one of his late teachers.
Follow Adam Baer on Twitter @glassshallot.