Born and raised in the Twin Cities, MN, Jacob Adams’s (he/him) musical interests were sparked upon listening to his parents’ Beatles LP’s when he was 5 years old, with Ringo Starr being his favorite. Percussion lessons followed shortly thereafter, and piano lessons followed at the age of 10. Throughout high school he was active in school and throughout the Twin Cities area as a church and theater accompanist and recitalist.
In 2003 he began undergraduate and eventually graduate studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music under the tutelage of Van-Cliburn silver medalist Antonio Pompa-Baldi, earning Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in piano performance, where he also remained actively involved as an accompanist, recitalist, and tutor. During this time he was also privileged to solo with several orchestras in the Midwest and East Coast. In 2009 he commenced studies at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, earning a DMA in piano performance and literature and an MM in piano pedagogy. While at the U of IL he also taught piano to undergraduate non-music majors.
In 2012 he moved back to his native Minneapolis, MN, where for the next 4 years he taught private and group piano lessons, was an accompanist at various churches, and performed both as an accompanist and soloist. In 2016 he began a 6-month stint playing piano for Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas, and since the spring of 2017, has been living and working in Chicago, where he teaches, accompanies choirs and instrumentalists, and is the director of music and liturgy at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.
Jacob has been an avid ragtime musician since 1996, when, at his father’s behest, he learned Maple Leaf Rag. Immediately he began collecting as much ragtime sheet music and recordings as he could, and with the advent of the internet, those pursuits were made that much easier. In 1999 he began composing his own ragtime pieces, and has since written over 50, although in recent years he has branched out and written in other styles as well. In 2009 he began performing at the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in Sedalia, Missouri, and has performed at a number of other ragtime festivals throughout the Midwest and East Coast. He has twice placed within the Top 5 at the Old-Time Piano Playing Championship (2011 & 2013) and his original rags have won the New Rag Contest three times (2010, 2017, & 2018).