Jacob Adams

Assistant Professor of Viola

Contact Info


DMA, University of California Santa Barbara
MA, Musicology, University of California Santa Barbara
MM, Yale School of Music
BM, Oberlin Conservatory of Music


Lauded for his “engaging” performances and “expressive and intense” playing (American Record Guide), violist Jacob Adams is Assistant Professor of Viola at the University of Alabama. Since making his solo debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at age 17, his career has included performances at major venues around the world. These include all three stages at Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, the Rudolfinium in Prague, and the El Escorial Palace in Spain. Jacob performed on the prized Amati instruments at the Smithsonian and appeared on stage with such diverse acts as the Kronos Quartet, Yo-Yo Ma, Suzanne Vega, Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, Diana Krall, and Cristian McBride, among many others. He premieres new works by celebrated living composers, including Caroline Shaw, Ted Hearne, Jacob Cooper, and Martin Suckling. He is a frequent guest with ensembles and orchestras around the country, including A Far Cry, Santa Barbara Symphony, New Haven Symphony, Huntsville Symphony, and as principal violist of the Tuscaloosa Symphony.


2016 engagements include performances at Weill Hall (Carnegie Hall), Benaroya Hall in Seattle, and at the Rudolfinium in Prague. A presenter and performer at the 2016 American Viola Society Festival, he is authored and published in the Journal for the American Viola Society. Jacob’s debut album “Czech Portraits,” was released in 2016 on the Centaur label, featuring original transcriptions of Janáček violin pieces as well as works by Zich, and Vycpálek with pianist Pascal Salomon.


Chamber music highlights include performances with members of Camerata Pacifica, the Muir String Quartet and the St. Petersburg String Quartet. Jacob was the violist of the critically acclaimed Vinca String Quartet, with whom he won special mention at the Borciani International Quartet Competition. As the founding violist of the Erato Quartet, he won top prize at the Coleman Chamber Music Competition. A regular artist-faculty of Manchester Summer Chamber Music, he has also performed at the Aspen Music Festival, Tanglewood, the Music Academy of the West, and the Casalmaggiore International Music Festival, among other summer festivals.


Jacob is a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, the Yale School of Music, and the University of California – Santa Barbara. His principal teachers have included Helen Callus, Jesse Levine, Roger Chase, Roland Vamos, Masao Kawasaki and Catharine Carroll. In addition to his performance degrees, Jacob also holds an M.A. in Musicology from the University of California – Santa Barbara, where upon completing his D.M.A. he was awarded as “Outstanding Graduate Student” by the Music Department.


Jacob has held previous teaching positions at Yale University and the University of California – Santa Barbara. He has appeared as a guest teacher and performer at many other schools and festivals, including the Peabody Institute of Music, Western Connecticut State University, Occidental College, BYU-Idaho, and the Chautauqua Institute. Jacob also often leads pre-concert talks and has contributed program notes to notable concert series across the country.


Jacob is passionate about sharing the joy and relevance of music to audiences and students regardless of age, background, or knowledge base. To that end, he has taught music appreciation courses at multiple universities. In addition, he served for four years as orchestra conductor and strings teacher for iCAN (Incredible Children’s Art Network), an after-school free access music program based in Santa Barbara’s Eastside community. While in the Vinca Quartet, Jacob co-founded the non-profit organization Music Haven to bring music access to underprivileged neighborhoods in New Haven, CT. Jacob coordinated the volunteer music programs for Santa Barbara Partners in Education, served as the Instrumental Program Coordinator at the Music Academy of the West, and worked as program annotator for the Yale School of Music.


In his spare time, Jacob is likely to be found hiking, cooking, bowling (high score: 289), or following his beloved Cincinnati sports teams. For more information, visit www.jacobviola.com.