Get to know the amazing musicians of the Memphis Symphony!
Acting Principal, The Marion Dugdale McClure Chair
Adam Sadberry is the newly appointed Acting Principal flutist of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra as of fall 2019. Adam’s orchestral experience includes performances as principal flute with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and as a guest section member in the Albany Symphony, Detroit Chamber Winds, New World Symphony, and the Omaha Symphony.
A MUSICIAN IN MEMPHIS... Getting to know Adam
Where are you from?
I'm originally from Montgomery, TX. It’s a town that’s located about an hour north of Houston.
Where did you study?
I received my bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music, and in lieu going to grad school, I was an African-American Orchestra Fellow with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for a year.
When did you come to Memphis?
I just got here! I moved in at the end of last summer.
What does it mean to you to make music for Memphis?
Making music for Memphis means contributing to city’s rich history of sounds. Memphis is of course much more well-known for its soul, blues, and rock and roll than it’s classical music, but that doesn’t mean that that classical music should be valued any less or viewed as an “other” here. It’s my and the rest of the orchestra’s job to authenticate our sounds using Memphis’ influence. We, like the rest of the musicians in town, are representatives of the culture here, and we have to honor it whether we’re doing an Elvis show or playing Beethoven’s fifth for the millionth time.
What has it meant to you to make Memphis your home?
Memphis was partially home before I got here! My mother’s side of the family is from Memphis, so I came a few times during my childhood to see family. Now, I occasionally get to see relatives that still live here, and I also get to visit those that now reside at Elmwood Cemetery. Particularly, I look forward to visiting my late grandparents, L. Alex Wilson, my grandfather and former editor of the Tri-State Defender during the Civil Rights Era, and Emogene Wilson, my beloved grandmother and former Memphis public school teacher who just passed away on Christmas. Therefore, making Memphis my physical home has meant reconnecting with family, history, and getting immense pleasure out of getting to add to it.
More about Adam
As a soloist, Adam has performed concerti with the Cordancia Chamber Orchestra, Clear Lake Symphony, Conroe Symphony, and the Detroit Chamber Orchestra as the result of both winning competitions and receiving invitations. He has received top awards and recognition in competitions from organizations including From the Top , Tal Perkes Flute Competition, U.S. Army Band "Pershing’s Own", YoungArts, National Association of Negro Musicians, Houston Symphony League, and Houston Flute Club, among others.
Adam is as passionate about music education as he is about performing; he is proud to work with the Memphis Music Initiative whose mission is to ‘[invest] in youth development through transformative music engagement, creating equitable opportunities for Black and Brown youth in Memphis.’ Previously, he has taught through the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Civic Youth Ensemble Program and the Eastman Community Music School where he also coordinated the Practice Buddies Program. He has also held summer teaching positions at the Baylor Flute Seminar and the Southeast Asia Music Festival.
Before joining the MSO, Adam performed regularly with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as an African-American Orchestra Fellow during the 2018-2019 season. He began this position immediately after receiving his Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance and a Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music. Adam is wholly indebted to all of his teachers and mentors who gave so generously including Bonita Boyd and Anne Harrow from Eastman, Amanda Blaikie, Jeff Zook, and Sharon Sparrow from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and Jennifer Keeney, Sandra Benke, Bob Price and Vicky Williamson from high school.