Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies
Adam Birnbaum is emerging as one of the top young voices in jazz piano. Since receiving a graduate Artist’s Diploma in jazz studies from The Julliard School in 2003, he has become a presence on the New York City scene as a leader and sideman, performing in such venues as the Village Vanguard, the Blue Note, Birdland, the Jazz Standard and Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. He has also performed on many national and world stages, including the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, the Kennedy Center, the Montreal Jazz Festival, The Spoleto Festival, The Red Sea Jazz Festival, The Rockport Chamber Festival, NPR Jazz Christmas, and the Capetown Jazz Festival.
As a leader, Birnbaum has released four albums under his name in Japan and the U.S. His first release, Ballade Pour Adeline, received a Gold Disk award from As a leader, Birnbaum has released four albums under his name in Japan and the U.S. His first release, Ballade Pour Adeline, received a Gold Disk award from Swing Journal as one of the top albums of 2006. Adam’s U.S. debut Travels, released in 2009 under the Smalls record label, received enthusiastic reviews in Allmusic.com, All About Jazz and JazzTimes. Birnbaum’s recent release Three of A Mind, featuring bassist Doug Weiss and drummer Al Foster, was hailed as “an eloquent dispatch from the heart of the contemporary piano trio tradition” by the New York Times, and received an Editor’s Pick and four star review in Downbeat magazine.
As a sideman, Birnbaum’s wide-ranging versatility and artistry have made him a first call for a wide variety of ensembles. He has performed or toured with established jazz artists such as Al Foster, Greg Osby, Regina Carter, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis, as well as with young artists such as Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society and Cecile Mclorin Salvant. Birnbaum has appeared as a sideman more than 25 albums.
Birnbaum is also recognized as a composer and arranger. Allmusic.com reviewer Ken Dryden said “Birnbaum’s compositions prove immediately infectious, each with a hook that draws the listener along for the ride. “A review of Travels in JazzTimes praised the album’s “stellar originals.” In 2009 Birnbaum premiered Dream Songs, a trio suite based on the poetry of John Berryman. The work was commissioned by Chamber Music America. Since 2012 Birnbaum has worked with Chelsea Music Festival each year to arrange Bach, Debussy, Beethoven, etc, for his own trio featuring strings and other guests musicians.
Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Birnbaum studied at the New England Conservatory of Music before moving to New York City in 2001, one of two pianists selected to participate in the Julliard School’s inaugural jazz studies program. In 2004 he won the American Jazz Piano Competition and became the American Pianists Association’s Cole Porter fellow in Jazz. That same year, he became the first jazz pianist to present a recital at the prestigious Gilmore Rising Stars Recital Series. In 2006, he received the first-ever “special mention” prize at the Martial Solal Jazz Piano Competition in Paris. He has toured West Africa and Asia sponsored by Jazz at Lincoln Center and the U.S. State Department. Adam has studied with Danilo Perez, Kenny Barron, and Fred Hersch.
Adam Birnbaum is currently an Assistant Professor of Jazz at SUNY Purchase. He is also a Steinway Artist.