Timothy K. Adams, Jr.
Principal Timpanist
Timothy Adams was named Pittsburgh Symphony Principal Timpanist beginning with the 1995-96 season. He was born in Georgia and received his early musical training there. While in high school, he started his professional career by playing as a substitute percussionist in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music where he received both his bachelor’s degree in music and master’s degree in percussion.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree, Mr. Adams played in the rock band, “Exotic Birds,” which recorded two albums and a music video for MTV. While studying in Cleveland, Adams played extra keyboard, percussion and timpani with the Cleveland Orchestra.

Having spent two summers at the Tanglewood Music Festival, Mr. Adams played under the direction of Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Masur, Seiji Ozawa, Elliot Carter and Leon Fleisher. He has played solo performances with the Atlanta Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, the Florida Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony and also has recorded with the Cleveland Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra where he was appointed principal timpanist in 1995.

In his capacity as Principal Timpanist of the Pittsburgh Symphony, Adams is active in Education and Outreach activities serving as both coach and mentor to aspiring percussionists. He presents master classes for high school students and was involved in the Symphony’s Early Childhood pilot program. He was instrumental in developing and presenting the Pennsylvania Day of Percussion at Heinz Hall, bringing in such artists as Evelyn Glennie, Peter Erskine and Dana Kimble.

Mr. Adams was featured on the award-winning children’s television show, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” He demonstrated various percussion instruments to children in an episode titled “Noisy and Quiet.” His most recent venture had him composing for dance concerts and playing on the soundtrack of The Caveman’s Valentine starring Samuel L. Jackson. The movie score was written by Grammy nominated jazz trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard.

Adams currently serves on the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh as Associate Professor of Music, head of the percussion program. In addition, he teaches percussion at the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina and teaches master classes and plays recitals both in this country and abroad. He is a regular guest lecturer at the University of Chile, International Percussion Festival in Puerto Rico, International Percussion Festival in Patagonia, Percussion School of Madrid and the Percussive Arts Society International Convention/USA.

Adams endorses Zildjan Cymbals, Evans Drum Heads (product design consultant), Mike Balter Mallets, Pearl/Adams Percussion and ProMark Drumsticks.