As an associate dean, Adam Meyer (M.M. ’04, viola) works closely with Provost and Dean Ara Guzelimian in a wide range of areas including providing support to students and faculty, overseeing performance activities, and many aspects of administrative and artistic planning and implementation. A native of Des Moines, Iowa, he got his bachelor’s degree from Oberlin, his master’s from Juilliard, and his D.M.A. from Stony Brook, all in viola. Before working at Juilliard, he was a co-founder of the Bryant Park Quartet (other founding members included alumnae Anna Elashvili and Tomoko Fujita) and the dean of students and program manager at the Perlman Music Program (which was founded by faculty member and alumnus Itzhak Perlman’s wife, alumna Toby Perlman).
What do you remember about your first work day at Juilliard?
Unfortunately, pretty much all I remember about my first day (which was in January 2011) is that I had a horrible cold and felt absolutely miserable (you can’t exactly call in sick for your first day). For my second day, a huge blizzard was forecast to hit N.Y.C., and I secretly hoped that school would be canceled so I could have the day to rest and get better—but alas, the forecast was wrong. Not the best of starts, but it’s been all uphill from there!
What job at Juilliard would you like to try out for a day?
I’d love to do a behind-the-scenes production job for Drama or Dance. When I was a student here, I made the mistake of never taking the time to go to a play or dance event and I’ve always regretted it. Now I go to everything I can and am constantly impressed.
Juilliard has a big focus on entrepreneurialism these days. Do you think being a musician and an entrepreneur are compatible?
In today’s world, being a successful creative artist absolutely requires entrepreneurial thinking and skills. Regardless of where your career takes you, you need to be able to advocate for your own talents and your artistic craft. When I helped form my former quartet, the Bryant Park Quartet, we quickly discovered that we couldn’t afford to focus only on artistic considerations. We were also running a small business—we needed to research performance opportunities, make decisions about how we would manage our finances, build and maintain a Web site, negotiate with presenters and managers—the list went on and on. At least for me, doing these things only enriched the process and made our successes even more rewarding.
What is the strangest job you’ve had?
Growing up in Iowa, I used to work on construction sites during the summer, doing cleanup and small jobs. It was difficult (and often dirty) work but it paid well for a high school kid and I actually learned quite a lot.
And the most memorable?
One of the most memorable working experiences I’ve ever had was being on a tour of the Old City in Jerusalem during a music residency I helped organize for the Perlman Music Program in Israel. It was definitely one of those “I can’t believe I’m being paid to be here right now” kinds of moments.
If out of the blue your boss said to take the day off, what would you do with your free time?
If the weather was nice and there was an afternoon game at Citi Field or Yankee Stadium, I’d catch a baseball game. Or I’d just get in the car and drive to an area of the Northeast I haven’t had a chance to explore.
How do you balance your job and your artistic endeavors?
Truthfully, I’m still working to figure that out. I still teach quite a bit and play as much as I can—when I do get to play, it’s a total joy because it’s purely for my own enjoyment. Also, I’ve learned that I could be perfectly happy playing second viola parts in string quintets (especially Brahms and Mozart) for the rest of my life.
What other pursuits are you passionate about?
I also work as the dean of students at the Perlman Music Program, so when I’m not working at Juilliard, I’m often absorbed with helping that organization. I find the two jobs really inform and reinforce one another in a positive way. Work aside, I love to eat good food, watch sports, read about politics, and travel when I can.
Where would you most like to travel?
There are so many places in the world I’d love to see, and I have so many dream vacations planned in my head, that it’s hard to narrow it down. If I had to choose one right now, I’d probably go someplace tropical in Central or South America, just to experience a completely different culture and lifestyle.
What might people be surprised to know about you?
I’m not sure about this one—maybe that I played basketball and was a catcher on my high school baseball team? It didn’t take me long to realize I was never going to be a professional athlete and that my true interests were in music, but I always took pleasure in being a part of two very different high school cliques.
What’s your favorite thing about New York City?
There is something intangible about N.Y.C. that gets in your blood. When I first moved here, to do my master’s at Juilliard, I never thought I’d stay for 10 years—and counting. For me, it’s the way culture is so naturally integrated into peoples’ lifestyle here, and also the diversity of people, ideas, and of course, food.
What are you reading right now?
As time allows, I’m working my way through Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow. It’s a really excellent book about the way we think—how we process information and our (often unhelpful) tendencies when evaluating our own intuitions for decision-making. I realize that description doesn’t exactly make it sound like an exciting read, but it’s really quite fascinating and engaging.