Julia Adolphe’s music has been described as “alive with invention” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker), “colorful, mercurial, deftly orchestrated” (Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times) displaying “a remarkable gift for sustaining a compelling musical narrative” (Thomas May, Musical America). Adolphe’s works are performed across the U.S. and abroad by renowned orchestras and ensembles such as the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, the Eastern Festival Orchestra, James Conlon and the Cincinnati May Festival Chorus, the Bravo! Vail Music Festival, soprano Hila Plitmann, pianist Gloria Cheng, and Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, among others. Her awards include a 2017 ASCAP Young Composer Award, a 2016 Lincoln Center Emerging Artists Award, a 2016 OPERA America Discovery Grant, and a 2015 Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Adolphe is a native New Yorker living in Los Angeles.
Current commissions include an orchestral work for the LA Philharmonic’s centennial season, choral works for the Brooklyn Youth Chorus and Peninsula Women’s Chorus, and a comic opera entitled A Barrel of Laughs, A Vale of Tears based on the novel by Jules Feiffer with a libretto by Stephanie Fleischmann. Adolphe’s 2017 orchestral work, White Stone, premiered by Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic, follows on the heels of the NY Philharmonic’s 2016 premiere of Unearth, Release, Adolphe’s viola concerto composed for Cynthia Phelps, and Dark Sand, Sifting Light, featured during the 2014 NY PHIL BIENNIAL. Conducted by Jaap Van Zweden, Unearth, Release was called “a significant new work…a poetically haunting meditation” (Musical America) concluding with “a bold choice…[where] the viola floats mystical lines above the tremulous, shimmering orchestra” (The New York Times).
Adolphe’s chamber opera, SYLVIA, received its concert premiere at New York City’s Bargemusic in March 2013 in a set of performances produced by the composer herself. Based on her original story and libretto, Adolphe composed and produced a workshop of SYLVIA in April 2012 at the Lost Studio theater in Los Angeles. An excerpt of the one-act opera was subsequently performed at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust as part of the Yom HaShoah Commemoration and called “ambitious and defiantly audacious” (Out West Arts). In New York, SYLVIA was hailed as “a short, sharp, powerful opera…searingly vivid” (eMusic) presented “with great clarity, composer and librettist Julia Adolphe encapsulates Sylvia’s dilemma in a plaintive cry” (cityArts).
Adolphe is also an active writer, teacher, and producer. In 2014, NewMusicBox published Adolphe’s articles on teaching music in an all-male maximum security prison. In 2013, Adolphe was co-producer of The Prodigal Son conducted by James Conlon for the LA Opera Britten Centennial. As a USC Teaching Assistant, Adolphe taught courses on the History of the Beatles and Classic Rock. Adolphe currently pursues a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the USC Thornton School of Music. Prior teachers include Stephen Hartke, Steven Stucky, and Donald Crockett. Adolphe holds a Master of Music degree in music composition from USC and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and the College Scholar Program from Cornell University.
Photo Credit: Martin Chalifour