facebook2 instagram twitter2 video web youtube search close
“Tension Study No. 1” by Samuel Carl Adams


“Tension Study No. 1” by Samuel Carl Adams

Performed by John Corkill, Ian Rosenbaum, and Max Zuckerman

Mallet Selection for this Piece:


M25 – Gary Burton (M25)

Buy Now

Yarn wound heads and rattan handles accommodate Gary’s requirements on vibraphone.


M141 (M141)

Buy Now

Medium hard nylon for a focused sound on xylophone and bells.


This is the first of two studies that deal with physical and instrumental tension as well as the tension inherent in tonality. Perhaps the most transparent ‘tension’ in the first study is the guitarist’s revealing of the bass line by the gradual detuning of the instrument and the subtle pitch bend created by the percussionist’s use of pressure on the vibraphone. Emotionally and instrumentally, I hear this music as part of a tradition of the melancholy in guitar music – we hear it from John Dowland to Muddy Waters.

I would like to thank the following:
Andrew Meyerson and Travis Andrews for commissioning this piece, Adrian Freed @ CNMAT in Berkeley for the resonant filters, Max Zuckerman, John Corkill, and Ian Rosenbaum for providing energy, emotion, and enthusiasm to the first couple of performances.

I wrote the guitar processing exclusively in Max/MSP. I created samples exclusively with a Kolkata pump Harmonium.

This first study is dedicated to Paul Dresher.
  – Samuel Adams, November 2010


California-born, Brooklyn-based composer Samuel Carl Adams (b. 1985) is a dynamic creator of acoustic and electroacoustic music whose works equally embrace tradition and the non-vernacular. His music draws his experiences in a wide array of fields including experimental forms, micro-sound, noise, jazz, programming, and phonography. He has been commissioned by The Paul Dresher Electroacoustic Ensemble, ACJW (The Academy, a program of Carnegie Hall, Juilliard, and The Weill Institute of Music), MATA (Music at the Anthology), Lisa Moore, TwoSense, The San Francisco Symphony, The Living Earth Show, and Carnegie Hall.

Sam is currently in the process of developing a work for the New World Symphony utilizing their new and dynamic performance space in Miami, Florida. The piece, entitled Drift and Providence, will have its premiere under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas in the spring of 2012 and further performances in San Francisco (Davies Symphony Hall) and New York City (Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall) with the San Francisco Symphony in the Spring of 2013. Other current (and near-future) projects include a recording of his Tension Studies with the Living Earth Show, a fixed-media work to be premiered at the The Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (ARAS), and a new work for the Academy (ACJW) that will receive performances both at Weill Hall at Carnegie and at Skidmore College in Saratoga, NY. In April and May of 2012, Sam will be an artist in residence at the Baryshnikov Arts Center (NYC). During this time, he will be engaged in developing a dramatic electroacoustic work that will enjoy two performances towards the end of his term. In the spring of 2013, Sam will present his Tension Studies alongside the works of Tyondai Braxton, Ted Hearne, and Matt Marks as part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Brooklyn Festival.


John Corkill has performed in many prestigious venues across America such as Carnegie’s Weill, Stern, and Zankel Halls, the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, La Poisson Rouge, and Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion.  As a chamber musician, John has performed and held residencies at the Chamber Music Northwest, Norfolk, and Yellow Barn Festivals.  In 2003, he placed second in the Percussive Arts Society Keyboard Percussion Competition, and recently won the Yale Chamber Music Competition as a member of the Wanmu Percussion Trio.  John has also had the privilege of working with many of today’s leading orchestral composers and conductors such as Oliver Knussen, David Lang, Krzysztof Penderecki, Marin Alsop, Peter Oundjian, Cliff Colnot, and Reinbert de Leeuw.  John received his Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University and recently finished his Artist Diploma and Master of Music Degree from the Yale School of Music.  His teachers include Robert van Sice, Michael Burritt, and James Ross.

Still only 24 years of age, American percussionist Ian Rosenbaum has developed a musical breadth far beyond his years. As a member of the Verbier Festival Orchestra Ian performed with many of the worlds most noted conductors, including Charles Dutoit, Valery Gergiev and Zubin Mehta. Tours with this extraordinary orchestra comprised of musicians from around the world took him to the major concert halls of France, Germany, Switzerland and the United States.

The following season, he successfully entered the realm of solo marimba performance making his Kennedy Center debut in Washington D.C. and later that year garnered a special prize created for him at the Salzburg International Marimba Competition.

However, it is in the sphere of chamber music performance that Mr. Rosenbaum has achieved his greatest success. He frequently performs with the acclaimed So Percussion group and has appeared at the Norfolk, Yellow Barn and Chamber Music Northwest Festivals. At the conclusion of Yellow Barn, artistic director Seth Knopp said of Ian, “Ian Rosenbaum’s music-making is informed by a wonderful intelligence, interpretive insight and prodigious control. But above all, it is his openness of approach that makes him an unusually sensitive artist and collaborator.”

Ian is a member of Le Train Bleu, Novus NY and the Wanmu percussion trio. He recently joined the faculties of the Peabody Institute’s preparatory program and Yale College where he founded an undergraduate percussion ensemble. Ian is a member of Chamber Music Society Two.

Guitarist Max Zuckerman currently lives and works in New York City. Max is a graduate of the Peabody Institute of Music where he earned both a Bachelors of Music and a Graduate Performance Degree in the studio of Manuel Barrueco. Max is also a graduate of the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters in Music, studying with Benjamin Verdery

Max has performed in master classes for Lily Afshar, Manuel Barrueco, Roland Dyens, Julian Gray, John Holmquist, William Kanengiser, Ron Pearl, David Tanenbaum, Scott Tennant, and Benjamin Verdery.

In 2002, at the American String Teachers’ Association national competition, Max won first prize in his division (under 18 guitar) and Grand Prize for all string instruments in the under 18 division. In 2003 he won first prize in the Portland Guitar Festival Solo Guitar Competition and was a solo performer at the PGF the following year. In July 2007 Max was a featured performer at the week-long Encuentro Internacional de Guitarra de Panama in Panama City. In the fall o 2010, Max made his Carnegie Hall debut performing the world premiere of Sam Adam’s Tension Study #1 for electric guitar and percussion.

Welcome to Vic Firth.com. This site uses cookies. To find out more about how we use cookies and how you can change your settings, read our privacy policy