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) and a “mastery of dynamic as well as harmonic complexity” (Financial Times). Adolphe’s works are performed across the U.S. and abroad by renowned ensembles such as the New York Philharmonic, North Carolina Symphony, James Conlon and the Cincinnati May Festival Chorus, Inscape Chamber Orchestra, the Serafin String Quartet, Grammy-nominated pianist Aron Kallay, and Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, among others. Her awards include 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 Unearth, Release, a viola concerto for the New York Philharmonic and Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps, and a new work for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra to premiere in March 2017. Unearth, Release, to be conducted by newly appointed Music Director Jaap van Zweden, follows on the heels of the New York Philharmonic premiering Adolphe’s orchestral work Dark Sand, Sifting Light as part of the 2014 NY PHIL BIENNIAL. A winner of the international EarShot New Music Readings’ competition, Adolphe’s first orchestral work was hailed as “remarkably assured…an upbeat to something grander” (The New Yorker).
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 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, NY).
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 in 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 Steven Stucky and Stephen Hartke. 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.