Strings 2019:   May 16th – 18th at Muttart Hall, Alberta College
Norman Adams

Norman Adams


Norman Adams is Principal Cellist of Symphony Nova Scotia (SNS), and the Artistic Director of suddenlyLISTEN Music. A student of Hans Jørgen Jensen, Bernard Greenhouse, and American new music pioneer Pauline Oliveros, Norman has been a soloist with SNS, and Les Jeunes Virtuoses de Montréal. He has been guest principal cellist of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and has performed chamber, and improvised music throughout Canada, the US, France, and the UK. His performances have also been heard across the country on CBC Radio. As an educator, Norman has been a faculty member at Acadia University, at Scotia Festival of Music, the Acadia Summer Strings Festival and has led creative workshops at String Fest at Memorial University of Newfoundland, CPA Allen High School, for the Nova Scotia Registered Music Teachers Association, and in schools around Nova Scotia.

In addition to his work as a classical cellist, Norman is well known as an improviser and electronic musician, playing free and creative music across North America and Europe, and at festivals from New York City to Prince George BC. Norman has collaborated with many leading artists including Joëlle Léandre, Gerry Hemingway, Eddie Prévost, Pauline Oliveros, Xavier Charles, Marilyn Crispell, and Evan Parker.

Since 2000, Norman has been the Artistic Director and Producer of suddenlyLISTEN Music, an organization that both presents an annual series of concerts of improvised music, featuring a broad range of local, Canadian and international artists; and produces a wide range of other performance projects. He is also dedicated to sharing music with all people, leading suddenlyLISTEN’s Improvisation Workshops for the past 11 seasons.

In 2010, Norman was awarded an Established Artist Award by the Nova Scotia Arts and Culture Partnership Council, for his varied work.

Norman is dedicated to the arts community, and serves on the national board of The Canadian New Music Network, as well as on the boards of The Lieutenant Governor’s Masterworks Award, and Strategic Arts Management. He is a former Board member of Symphony Nova Scotia, and has served on juries for The Canada Council for the Arts and various Nova Scotian arts funding bodies and organizations.

Norman makes his home in Halifax with SNS principal violist Susan Sayle, and their two teenaged sons. Together, they spend their summers living and working on Prince Edward Island. Norm’s passion for music is equaled by his love for riding and racing bicycles, and if he’s not playing the cello, or organizing a concert, he’s probably out cycling on the roads and trails of Nova Scotia or the Island.

Visit suddenlyLISTEN at and Norman’s website at

2015 Strings Competitors

Christina Choi Edmund Chung Mari Coetzee Esther Hwang Enoch Ng Tate Zawadiuk

Important Information

  • The application process is now closed.
  • We've received 20 applications, and we will let all applicants know if they've been successful in advancing by mid January 2011.
  • Strings Brochures are available on the download page.