Norman Adams


Norman Adams is Principal Cellist of Symphony Nova Scotia, 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 Canada and Australia on CBC and ABC. As an educator, Norman has been a faculty member at Acadia University, at Scotia Festival of Music, String Fest at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Acadia Summer Strings Festival.

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. Norman has collaborated with many leading artists including Joëlle Léandre, Gerry Hemingway, Eddie Prévost, Pauline Oliveros, Buck 65, Jerry Granelli, 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 and public workshops.

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 Canadian Circuit, The NS 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 The Canada Council for the Arts and various Nova Scotian arts funding bodies and organizations.

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

Norman makes his home in Halifax with Symphony principal violist Susan Sayle, and their two teenaged sons. Together, they spend their summers living and working at the Charlottetown Festival 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 show, he’s probably out cycling on the roads and trails of the Island or Nova Scotia.

Visit suddenlyLISTEN at and Norman’s website at