March 5, 2020

Acclaimed CIM Alumni to be Celebrated at Annual Honors Convocation in May

Timothy K. Adams Jr. Photo by Cameron Mayo Figueroa.

Timothy K. Adams Jr., chair of the percussion department at the University of Georgia’s Hugh Hodgson School of Music and Boris Allakhverdyan, principal clarinet of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, will receive outstanding alumni awards during the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Commencement Weekend, May 15-16.

Adams earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from CIM in 1983 and 1987, respectively, as a student of Richard Weiner, Cloyd Duff and Paul Yancich. Allakhverdyan, who studied with Franklin Cohen, received his master’s degree in 2010.

During Honors Convocation on Friday, May 15, Adams, former principal timpani of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, will receive CIM’s Distinguished Alumni Award, which honors alumni who have attained the highest stature in their given field of performance, composition, music theory, musicology, teaching or arts administration. Allakhverdyan, who also serves on the clarinet faculty at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music in Los Angeles and California State University at Fullerton, will accept the Alumni Achievement Award, which recognizes significant contributions in the area of performance, composition, music theory or pedagogy. Both honorees will address the graduates, with Allakhverdyan accepting his award via live video feed from Los Angeles.

The alumni awards are presented based on recommendations from CIM faculty and alumni and reviewed by a panel of additional alumni and CIM leadership.

CIM announced recently that acclaimed conductor, composer and educator Michael Tilson Thomas will be awarded an honorary doctorate and serve as commencement speaker at the school’s 95th Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 16.

Judy A. Bundra, CIM’s chief academic officer and dean of the Conservatory, praised Adams and Allakhverdyan as alumni who exemplify the significance of a CIM degree.

“CIM is honored to recognize Tim Adams and Boris Allakhverdyan, two of our many accomplished alumni whose work reflects the musicianship, mentorship and community engagement that are the characteristics of a CIM education,” Bundra said. “Tim is an active educator, serving as both coach and mentor to aspiring percussionists in Pittsburgh when he performed and taught there, as well as at the University of Georgia, the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina and across the globe. Boris’ resume has grown exponentially since he received his master’s degree from CIM in 2010. We are so proud that he was named principal clarinet with the LA Philharmonic in 2016 after several years as principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York. We look forward to Tim and Boris sharing their life lessons with us.”

Timothy Adams Jr. is the Mildred Goodrum Heyward Professor of Music and chair of the percussion department at the University of Georgia’s Hugh Hodgson School of Music in Athens, GA. He was previously principal timpanist of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for 15 years, as well as a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

A native of Covington, GA, Adams is known as a dynamic timpanist, recording artist, educator and composer, he has performed both as a soloist and orchestra member throughout the US, Europe, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, China and Malaysia. His film soundtrack credits include The Caveman’s Valentine featuring Samuel L. Jackson and Miracle at St. Anna, directed by Spike Lee. Adams is a prolific composer, having written solo and chamber works for percussion published under Mostly Marimba Publications. His timpani etude book, entitled 75 Etudes for the Accomplished Timpanist is self-published under his own Demery Bennett Music. Having spent two summers at the Tanglewood Music Festival, Adams played under the direction of Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Masur, Seiji Ozawa, Elliot Carter and Leon Fleisher. Notably, Adams was featured on the award-winning children’s television show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” demonstrating various percussion instruments to children in an episode titled “Noisy and Quiet.”

Before completing his bachelor’s degree, Adams won the principal timpani position with the Canton Symphony Orchestra, where he performed for five years before being hired by the Florida Philharmonic. After four years in Florida, he moved on to become principal timpanist of the Indianapolis Symphony. During this time he also held the position of principal percussionist of the Eastern Music Festival and held a faculty position at Butler University. Adams has performed and recorded with such luminaries as Yo-Yo Ma, Reneé Fleming, Lang Lang, Della Reese, Tony Bennett, James Taylor, Arturo Sandoval, Dave Brubeck and Bobby McFerrin.

Boris Allakhverdyan. Photo by Ryan Hunter. 

Boris Allakhverdyan was appointed principal clarinet of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2016. He previously served as principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York City and associate principal clarinet of the Kansas City (MO) Orchestra. Allakhverdyan is a founding member of the Prima Trio, the 2007 Grand Prize and Gold Medal winner of the prestigious Fischoff Chamber Music Competition.

Allakhverdyan was raised in Russia where he started the clarinet at age 9. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory, and at age 19, moved to the US. Prior to earning his master’s degree at CIM, he studied at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music with Richard Hawkins, graduating in 2006 with a performance certificate and artist diploma.

He currently serves on the clarinet faculty at the UCLA Herb Albert School of Music in Los Angeles as well as at California State University at Fullerton. He previously taught at the Peabody Institute of Music, Pacific Music Festival in Japan and the Interlochen Clarinet Festival in Michigan. He has given master classes at Manhattan and Mannes Schools of Music, USC, UCLA, University of Oregon, University Missouri-Kansas City, Colorado Music Festival, Latin American Clarinet Academy in Venezuela and Shenzhen International Music Festival in Shenzhen, China. As a chamber musician, Allakhverdyan has performed throughout the US and Europe on such series as the Cleveland Chamber Music Society, the Dayton Art Institute and CityMusic Columbus. He has appeared as a soloist with the Seattle, Tucson, Bakersfield (CA) and Springfield (MA) symphony orchestras as well as orchestras in Russia, Armenia and Kazakhstan.

Commencement and Honors Convocation

Honors Convocation is open to the public, and reservations are not required. Convocation takes place in CIM’s Mixon Hall on Friday, May 15, at 4pm.

Due to space limitations, only invited guests may attend Commencement in Kulas Hall on Saturday, May 16, at 10am. The event will be live streamed; visit for more information and links to the live stream once it is available.