Adam Cuthbért

Adam is a New York based composer and performer.  He made a new version of metalStaind especially for us.  We will be premiering the new version for piccolo, vibraphone and percussion in San Francisco on September 27, 2013. 

Meerenai and Adam met (in real life) in the summer of 2013 when they were both Fellows at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival. (They already knew of each other via Twitter.) When Adam mentioned that he had a piece for saxophone and percussion, Meerenai asked him to consider a version for A/B Duo.  Lucky for us, Adam adapted the piece for us in no time!




Adam Cuthbért is a composer/performer and Michigan native who cross-breeds acoustic instruments with digital environments. Highly interested in the evocative qualities of sounds in nature, Cuthbért is experimenting with ways to use composed music to both synthesize and supplement the aesthetics of a natural environment. 

As an Ableton Live practitioner and trumpeter, he has performed new works around the United States and Japan, at (le) poisson rougeLa MaMa ETCChashama, and the Incubator, and alongside performers such as eighth blackbird, Sō PercussionDennis DeSantis, and Maura Donohue. His co-commission with Daniel Rhode, several rooms away from their source, premiered simultaneously in the UK, Netherlands, and US in the 2012 London Cultural Olympiad.

Some recent and ongoing projects include scores for experimental opera-theatre (Pioneers Go East Collective), a trumpet/electronica solo project (KuuMA), and Sight/Sound, an audio-visual collective based on collaborative composing over the internet and through the lens of technology.

Visit Adam's website.


A/B: Any pre/during/post composition rituals?

Adam: My most "zoned in" composing sessions seem to happen either in the loud static of a New York City coffee shop, or in dead silence between the hours of 1am and 5am.  I guess I like the extremes of panic and serenity.

A/B: Favorite drink after finishing a composition?

Adam: Compositions can be finished?!

A/B: Stay-cation or vacation?

Adam: Vacation.  There's too much of the world I haven't seen yet.

A/B: Nsync or Backstreet?

Adam: JT.

A/B: Favorite live musical moment?

Adam: Oh, so many of these.  John Luther Adams' Inuksuit in a torrential downpour at Millennium Park in Chicago. Also recently Squarepusher's Ufabulum show. Talujon's performance of Grisey's Le Noir de l'Etoile. Most terrifying: trapped in a Skrillex moshpit as a brawl started to break out.

A/B: Apple or Microsoft?

Adam: Apple since 2000. Audio gear just works on my MBP.

A/B: Sibelius or Finale?

Adam: I compose in Ableton Live, then I export MIDI data into Sibelius and clean it up to a performable grade. Frankly, I dislike both sib and fin.

A/B: Favorite Artist?

Adam: Collectively, the Bang on a Can trio.

A/B: Favorite Book?

Adam: Morton Feldman's "Give My Regards to 8th Street".  Changed my world as a composer.

A/B: Ideal vacation spot?

Adam: Kyushu Japan.

A/B: Guilty pleasure?

Adam: Japanese trance music, and those Vocaloid synth characters you can program to sing.

A/B: Favorite Sesame Street character?

Adam: I was a Big Bird fan back in the day.  Seriously, how is he so big??

A/B: Favorite breakfast food?

Adam: Tamago-kakegohan (rice, raw egg, sesame oil)

A/B: Your proudest moment?

Adam: Wedding day.

A/B: Vinyl, cassette tape, compact discs, or mp3?

Adam: I am so over CDs. Half of my existence is in the cloud.

A/B: Your first LP, tape, CD, etc. purchase?

Adam: In 4th grade, Third Eye Blind's self titled. That 90s stuff still hits the spot sometimes.