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Meet Adam

Hailed “a triple threat” by trumpeter Randy Brecker, Adam J Benefield is an award-winning composer and musician from Pennsylvania who is equally comfortable with a pencil and manuscript paper as he is at the drum set or piano. His music is a synthesis of the jagged rhythms and dissonance of metal, sonic energy of rock, sophistication and lyricism of classical music, and soul of American jazz. 


Adam received a Bachelor of Music in 2013 from Moravian College where he studied with Larry Lipkis, Tony Gairo, Gary Rissmiller, and Douglas Ovens. He received a Master of Music in 2020 from Stephen F. Austin State University where he studied with Stephen Lias. Currently, he is completing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Memphis where he studies with Kamran Ince, Jack Cooper, and Mahir Cetiz. Adam also works at Memphis as a graduate teaching assistant. Courses he teaches include Ear Training 1-3, Music Theory 1, Post-Tonal Music, Orchestration, and Applied Composition Lessons.


While an undergraduate student at Moravian, Adam participated in a masterclass with Harry Connick, Jr. and played drums in Mr. Connick’s musical The Happy Elf. It was then that Connick told him, “Man, you really know how to swing!” Some other career highlights include winning the university-wide William R. Johnson Outstanding Thesis Award at Stephen F. Austin, the Smit Music Composition Award at The University of Memphis, and placing as a finalist in Iris Orchestra’s 2020/2021 Collegiate Composer Competition. 


In 2013, Adam had the opportunity to travel to Alaska for the summer and play ragtime piano in The Days of ’98 Show with Soapy Smith, an old vaudeville show about the Alaskan goldrush. It was there that he met his wife Delaney. Adam currently lives in Memphis, TN with his wife and their toy poodle Indy.

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