A sudden death shocks New York piano world

A sudden death shocks New York piano world


norman lebrecht

May 12, 2021

The enterprising, innovative, energetic and widely-connected piano activist Adam Marks has died in his sleep, reportedly of a heart attack.

He was 42.

Adam played anywhere from storefronts to Carnegie Hall and put on piano festivals in places where no piano played before.

He had residencies in Australia and California, toured widely with Eighth Blackbird and believed everyone had something to say in music.

He is irreplaceable.

Composer Nico Muhly writes on Facebook: I want to join the chorus of people mourning Adam Marks, who died this week. A lovely man, widely adored and admired. My ridiculous memory of him: between an intense dress rehearsal and a show at Carnegie we were both playing, we ran into one another at the gym, both working through some chamber-music-rhythm-stress in our own awkward way in shorts and headphones. 20 minutes of parallel play on the stairmistress, and then 20 minutes of serious eye contact across two pianos. Other members of the community have more eloquent tributes, but I just wanted to chime in. Hug your friends, loved ones, and collaborators a second longer this week.

Memorial donations are directed here. Pull down the “Outreach and Justice” tab, and put “fridge” or “food bank”

Lori Kaufmann writes from Chicago: Adam Marks was an immense walking column of light, shining and bringing joy to all he came in contact with. I first met him in the lobby of Harris Theater around 14 years ago, but it was during his trip to Singapore in 2013 to play a concert with me and guest teach my students that I got to know this incredible, life-affirming man. To Adam, everything he experienced was “the best”- the best coconut milk, the best mango soursop smoothie, the best sushi, the best hotel in Bali, the best piece of music…….and this abundant gratitude for everything he touched was infectious. He even managed to put a positive spin on dropping his cellphone down an elevator shaft- a lesson for me (and my kids, who called him “Uncle Adam”) about not letting the little annoyances of life get you down. I will keep that sense of wonder and gratitude in my heart as I continue to be grateful to having spent time with this spectacularly compassionate man during his short time amongst us, the lesser evolved humans. To the many people grieving this week, especially Gabe, Craig, and Adam’s family, and also his students, teachers, colleagues, many many friends and admirers…. so very many people that he influenced, inspired, and loved with that amazing heart of his…..he will not be forgotten.


  • Reggie says:

    A huge, shocking loss, especially to everyone who knows the new music and piano scene in nyc.

    However, anyone who knows those scenes also knows Nico Muhly’s ridiculous, narcissistic hand-gesturing way of making every damned thing about himself, interjecting uber-gayness into everything he touches and says (“stairmistress”? Unnecessary). Exhausting and inappropriate, as always.

  • pvl says:

    “Piano ACTIVIST” – what does it mean?

    • BRUCEB says:

      Active in drawing attention to the instrument.

      “Adam played anywhere from storefronts to Carnegie Hall and put on piano festivals in places where no piano played before.”

  • RW2013 says:

    Schnabel would play billiards before a concert, but going to the gym?!

  • Tristan says:

    Adam was a really generous person, in addition to being an amazing pianist, mentor and friend. It’s truly heartbreaking.

  • Dennis says:

    Had he received one of the experimental mRNA injections recently? Funny how so many obits of “sudden and inexplicable” deaths these days lack such info…

    • BRUCEB says:

      …because that must be what it was if they don’t explicitly mention it.

    • MusicBear88 says:

      I went to college with Adam; we were young and we didn’t get along well but that isn’t the point. The point is that his friends and his family are going to see this post and that his memory is tarnished by your anti-vax paranoia. Have some respect for him and his loved ones who are in mourning!

    • OnlyForward says:

      Excuse me, sir, but I believe your tinfoil hat just fell off.

    • Brettermeier says:

      Do you eat babies? You didn’t mention it, that’s a bit suspicious. Just saying. Do you eat babies? Why do you never say that you are against eating babies? I’m not saying you are definitely eating babies. I’m just wondering why you never said “I don’t eat babies.” Isn’t that strange? Are you hiding something? Again, just asking the hard questions that most people are just too afraid to ask. What are you hiding, Dennis?


    • E says:

      Yes, only brainwash people dont see how harmful it is. Who would trust big companies, financed by bill bates the pedo ,who have been sued several times?! People will go y themselves to the slaughterhouse.

  • fflambeau says:

    “A piano activist”?

  • Adam Marks was a giant in New York new music circles and one of America’s great young keyboard artists. He was also a mensch, one of the sweetest personalities I’ve been gifted to know, and in the late 1990s, my piano student.

    A visit to his website, AdamMarks.com, confirms him as a musician of titanic appetite and accomplishment. In his 42 years, Adam attained far more than many twice his age, but that fact hardly ameliorates the shock of his untimely passing. Affectionately he will remain in my memory always, as a bright and vivid youth enraptured by the fascinations of the musical future and fully in charge of its manifold possibilities.

  • E says:

    Side effect of post vaccination. Of course. So many people die from it and the fools keep putting poison in their bodies to please the murderous ‘elite’.

  • Amelia says:

    Has he been vaccinated for Covid? Asking for a friend.

  • Brian says:

    Quite a few of my family friends and acquaintances have passed away AFTER getting the COVID jab! It’s not unreasonable to ask and it certainly wouldn’t tarnish his memory for those who truly cares for him!

    If COVID jabs are so dangerous, then the public has a right to know, and that includes his family!