Dr. Allison Adams is Associate Professor of Saxophone at The University of Tennessee-Knoxville, where she shares her excitement for music with the next generation of music educators and performers.
To this end, Adams is currently co-authoring a saxophone method, titled “Playing and Teaching the Saxophone: A Modern Approach,” with saxophonist Brian Horner. This book focuses on saxophone pedagogy for collegiate method class students and band directors. Its expected release date is February 2023, through Oxford University Press.
A versatile performer in addition to a pedagogue, Adams has been a featured soloist at venues across the country, from the Dallas Latino Cultural Center, to San Diego's Athenaeum Music and Arts Library. She has also a frequent performer at conferences such as The World Saxophone Congress, The International Saxophone Symposium, and The North American Saxophone Biennial Conference, and the International Clarinet Association Conference.
In addition to her solo work, Adams is the tenor player for the Estrella Consort, a saxophone quartet that has toured both locally and abroad. In May 2022, the quartet was featured as the ensemble-in-residence for the Alba Music Festival Composition Program in Italy. They have also held a residency at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ and toured Ecuador as part of a cultural exchange. While the Estrella Consort has performed and worked with students at many high-profile schools around the country (including Northwestern University, the University of Michigan, and Arizona State University), they also take pleasure in exposing audiences outside the academic community to contemporary music in an approachable way.
Adams' love of contemporary music is further explored in her collaborations with Nief Norf, a mixed chamber ensemble that focuses on the avant-garde work of living composers. As the saxophonist of the group, she has been featured on numerous concerts and also serves on the faculty of the Nief Norf Summer Festival. In 2018, Adams and Nief Norf had the opportunity to combine forces with the renowned new music ensemble The Bang on a Can Allstars to present Michael Gordon's Big Space at the annual Big Ears Festival.
Besides her study of the saxophone, Adams’ main area of research centers around performance injuries, wellness for musicians, and the integration of yoga into music performance. A chapter on her recovery from focal dystonia is available in the collection Notes of Hope, published by Mountain Peak Music. She has also authored an essay on yoga for musicians, which can be found in the multi-media resource Cross Training for Musicians (available through Mountain Peak Music as well). She has taught several “Yoga for Musicians” courses for students ranging from high school to college. Recently, her focus on wellness has expanded to include a presentation on the anatomy of breathing at the 2017 International Saxophone Symposium, and a presentation on how pregnancy affects saxophone performance at the 2018 North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference.
Adams has previously served on the faculties of Ithaca College and Cornell University and has commissioned works from Andrew Sigler, Baljinder Sekhon, Gregory Wanamaker, Dominick DiOrio, Keane Southard, and Caleb Burhans.
Adams holds a B.M. in Music Education and Performance from Ithaca College, a M.M. in Music Performance from the University of Minnesota, and a D.M.A. from Arizona State University. Her main saxophone teachers have included Steven Mauk, Eugene Rousseau, and Timothy McAllister.
Adams is a performing artist for both the Selmer and D'Addario companies.