Adolphe’s music is described as “alive with invention” (The New Yorker), “colorful, mercurial, deftly orchestrated” (The New York Times) displaying “a remarkable gift for sustaining a compelling musical narrative” (Musical America). Her works are performed across the U.S. and abroad by renowned orchestras and ensembles such as the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Verona Quartet, soprano Hila Plitmann, and pianist Gloria Cheng, among others.
Current commissions include a chorus and orchestra piece for the Cincinnati May Festival and a piano trio for the Sitkovetsky Trio, co-commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, The Soraya, and Arizona Friends of Chamber Music. Adolphe's comic opera for all ages, A Barrel of Laughs, A Vale of Tears, based on the novel by Jules Feiffer with libretto by Stephanie Fleischmann, received initial workshops directed by Elkhanah Pulitzer at National Sawdust and Boston Court Pasadena in 2019, and is currently in development. Her awards include a Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award, an OPERA America Discovery Grant, an ASCAP Young Composer Award, and a Charles Ives Scholarship from the Academy of Arts and Letters.
Adolphe's 2022 orchestral work, Makeshift Castle, co-commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, received multiple performances in Boston and Tanglewood, with repeat performances upcoming in 2023 at Tanglewood and Musikfest Berlin at the Berlin Philharmonie. The Boston Globe described the work as possessing "dramatic clarity...with resourcefully orchestrated music that keeps the ear engaged." Adolphe's 2021 violin concerto, Woven Loom, Silver Spindle, commissioned by the LA Philharmonic for concertmaster Martin Chalifour, was hailed by the LA Times as "ambitious," with "melodic shards of ever-varying character," concluding with an "ethereal shimmer." In 2019, the New York Philharmonic and Decca Gold released their recording of Adolphe's Unearth, Release, a viola concerto co-commissioned by the NY Philharmonic and the League of American Orchestras for Cynthia Phelps. 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).
Passionate about de-stigmatizing mental illness and dispelling the myth of the tortured artist, Adolphe is the creator and host of the podcast LooseLeaf NoteBook. Produced in partnership with New Music USA, LooseLeaf NoteBook uncovers the connection between creativity and mental health, with a focus on nurturing artistry, emotional intelligence, and self-care. Adolphe shares her creative process, personal experience with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and journey towards mental health alongside guests from across creative fields to provide inspiration, a space for open dialogue, and paths towards healing through artistic self-expression. In a profile on LooseLeaf NoteBook in the Boston Globe, composer Andrew Norman said: "I think what Julia and a few other composers like her have done is really brave and extraordinary - to say, 'No, we need to be having these conversations, and it's OK to talk about them in public.'"
A native New Yorker living in Nashville, Adolphe holds a Masters of Music degree in music composition from the USC Thornton School of Music and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University. Her composition teachers include Steven Stucky and Stephen Hartke.
Photo Credit: Stephen Busken