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Eden MacAdam-Somer is one of the most exciting and versatile young musicians performing and teaching today. Her music transcends genre through soaring violin and fiddling, vocals, and percussive dance. She has been a featured soloist with symphony and chamber orchestras, jazz and swing bands, and Eastern European and American folk ensembles. As an educator and composer/improviser, Ms. MacAdam-Somer has been a guest artist at such institutions as the Afghanistan National Institute of Music and the Dundalk Institute of Technology, and a featured performer at the Eastbourne and Beijing International Music Festivals, in addition to maintaining a full-time studio at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. With her contemporary duo, NotoriousFolk, she has toured across the continental United States, and performed and taught in Alaska, Hawaii, India, Iceland, the UK, and Afghanistan.
Beginning her classical studies at the age of four, it was not until her teenage years that Eden became an active member of the traditional music and dance community in Houston, Texas. This led to years of playing and singing with American and International folk bands, jazz and swing groups, and early music ensembles. Eden also continued to develop her skills as a classical violinist, attending Houston’s renowned High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, winning the Music Teacher’s National Association State Division and the Lennox Young Artists Competitions, and, eventually, earning her BM and MM degrees in classical performance from the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston as a student of Fredell Lack, and the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University as a student of Kenneth Goldsmith.
As an educator, Ms. MacAdam-Somer is strongly committed to a holistic and creative study of music, grounding students in sonic awareness and self-expression, while building technical facility as performers, improvisers, and composers. She encourages her students to ask questions, respect tradition, and challenge convention, developing their individual voices, regardless of genre or style. Ms. MacAdam-Somer has taught privately for over fifteen years, and joined the faculty of the Contemporary Improvisation Department at the New England Conservatory of Music in 2012. In addition, she has helped develop teaching programs at Houston Community College, the Shepherd School of Music’s Preparatory Department, and Southshore Conservatory of Music. She has also acted as teaching assistant to Kenneth Goldsmith at the Shepherd School of Music and to Hankus Netsky and Ran Blake at the New England Conservatory of Music.
Ms. MacAdam-Somer has made annual visits to Afghanistan since 2009, where she teaches and performs at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM). Her work there has led to her research of the current opportunities for women as musicians in Kabul, culminating in her Doctoral of Musical Arts Thesis: “Dukhtar-e Afghan – Women and Music in Kabul in the 21st Century.” Ms. MacAdam-Somer will return to Kabul in the Spring of 2013 to assist in curriculum development for higher education at the ANIM.
Her compositions include numerous works for solo performer on voice, violin, and body percussion, such as Jump for Joy and Rumi Songs, a partially composed, partially improvised song cycle, hailed by the New York Times as reflecting “astonishing virtuosity and raw expression.” Ms. MacAdam-Somer is currently working on a piece for chamber ensemble, entitled The Shooting Gallery, reflections on war as seen through the eyes of children, largely inspired by her work in Afghanistan.
In 2009, Ms. MacAdam-Somer was accepted as the first doctoral student of the groundbreaking Contemporary Improvisation (CI) department of the New England Conservatory of Music. There, she has pursued explorations of composition and improvisation across genres, including works for solo performer on violin, voice, and percussive dance. In fall of 2011, she was named Chair of the CI Department of Preparatory and Continuing Education at NEC, and in 2012 became Assistant Chair of the College CI Department. Outside of the classroom, she maintains an active performance and recording career with Boston area bands, the Sail Away Ladies, and the Klezmer Conservatory Band, and continues to tour, both as a soloist and with the duo NotoriousFolk.