Praised for its “depth, beauty, and rich dimension” (The Courier), and “tremendous instrumental color, beautiful textures, [and] impressive formal structure” (ABLAZE Records), the work of Baltimore-based composer/pianist Adam D. O’Dell (b. 1992) combine classical, jazz, rock, theatre, and folk influences into music with humanistic and story-like qualities.
O’Dell has been commissioned by the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, Altered Sound Duo, The Oklahoma State University Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble 135, The Julien Chamber Choir, Just Duet, saxophonist Sean Garde, and hornist Andrew Pelletier, among others. His works have been performed across the United States, and in the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, Russia, and Brazil, and performed by acclaimed ensembles including the Brno Philharmonic, the Abbellimenti string quartet, and the Philharmonia of Greater Kansas City, among others.
His pieces have been featured at multiple Society of Composers' festivals, the Iowa Bandmasters' Association conference, the Adolphe Sax Bicentennial Festival, the University of Nebraska-Kearney New Music Festival, the Bowling Green New Music Festival, and the PARMA Music Festival. Recent awards include the ABLAZE Orchestral Masters and Choral Masters Composition Prizes, the Tri-State Wind Symphony Fanfare Composition Contest, the MakeMusic Inc. “Take Your Music Farther with Garritan” Composition Contest, and the Kansas City Orchestral Composition Competition. He has also won multiple awards from SCI and ASCAP.
O’Dell’s work in theatrical scoring has been featured at the Iowa and International Thespian Festivals, and the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, where he was twice awarded the Certificate of Merit for Original Score and named a finalist for the KCACTF National Award for Excellence in Sound Design. His sound design and original score for I Am Not Batman was featured at the Kennedy Center in April 2013, and his KCACTF award winning score for The Glass Menagerie was featured at their National Sound Design Expo. O’Dell wrote music and lyrics to Marley: A Musical Tragedy, alongside librettist/co-lyricist Joey Stamp which premiered in 2013 at the Cabrini Repertory Theatre in New York City. O’Dell’s first opera, Il Babbo Sa Meglio (with librettist Michael Yichao), was workshopped and premiered by the Peabody Opera Theatre in the Spring of 2019.
As a sought-after contemporary pianist and advocate of new music, O’Dell has premiered or commissioned works by composers Daniel Harrison, Amy Dunker, Mavis MacNeil, Sean Garde, Tim Gelhaus, Anthony Green, Ashlin Hunter, Dalen Wuest, Kristi Fullerton, and Alan Beeler, among others. He has performed with the Toledo Masterworks Chorale, Vive! Ensemble, the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia of Greater Kansas City, Occasional Symphony, Great Noise Ensemble, and with members of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra. He served as the Founding Artistic Director and composer-in-residence with the Bowling Green-based Noise-to-Signal Ensemble from 2015-2017.
O'Dell holds degrees from Clarke University (BA, summa cum laude), and Bowling Green State University (MM), where he was a finalist in the Competitions in Music – Composition Division. Previous instructors include Amy Dunker, Christopher Dietz, Mikel Kuehn, and Marilyn Shrude. He is currently a doctoral candidate in Composition (DMA) as a Teaching Fellow at the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, studying primarily with Kevin Puts and Oscar Bettison.
O'Dell is an internationally published academic writer, and has given numerous guest lectures, presentations, and masterclasses in composition and analysis across the United States and Europe. His research interests include biomusicology, absurdism and surrealism in music and other arts, and popular influences on contemporary art music. He is a member of ASCAP, the Society of Composers, Inc., and the American Choral Directors Association, and is a PARMA Recordings Artist, with whom his music can be heard distributed via Naxos and Navona Records. His orchestral piece "Refractions" can be heard on the ABLAZE record label. O’Dell’s debut solo album Clarinet and Percussion pieces I gone and done with contemporary chamber music/sketch comedy duo Just Duet is now available for purchase and is streaming on all major streaming sites.