Sam Yulsman (b. 1990) is a composer and pianist whose music spans a wide range of idioms. A belief that music is felt and not heard is central to his work, as is exploration into the healing, psycho/somanautic properties of vibration. The development of a colorful notation system that engages the personality, virtuosity, and intuition of performers is another important through line in his work as a composer.
Yulsman’s compositions have been performed in North and South America, Europe, and Asia by ensembles and soloists including Talea Ensemble, Ensemble Korea, JACK Quartet, Séverine Ballon, Wet Ink Ensemble, Mivos Quartet, the New York New Music Ensemble, Julia den Boer, Jeonghyeon Joo, loadbang and Rage Thormbones. Collaborative works include Little Moments of Invisible Death, for two pianos and electronics composed and performed with Laure M. Hiendl, and Land Before Time III - a dance installation co-produced and directed with dancer Justin Cabrillos and poet Gabrielle DaCosta.
As a pianist he has collaborated closely with composers as an interpreter of new works, and with improvisers in contexts where the boundaries between composed and improvised music are porous and easily traversed. Yulsman has performed
and/or recorded in the United States and Europe with artists including Marcela Lucatelli, StellanVeloce, Anaïs Maviel, Weston Olencki, Brandon Lopez, Bilian Voutchkova, Lester St. Louis, Chris Corsano, Bill Frisell, Ingrid Laubrock, Pheeroan akLaff, Joe Morris, Ryan Muncy, Carla Bozulich, Tyshawn Sorey, Peter Evans, Cyrus McGoldrick (aka The Raskol Khan), CJ Camerieri, Art Lande, John Colpitts (aka KidMillions), Nicola Hein, Chris Heenan, and Mark Miller. Important recent performances as an improviser and interpreter include performances of Anaïs Maviel's who is this ritual for and from at Roulette in New York City, Neo Huckler's Crackles at Y-E-S fest 2018 in Berlin, the 2018 premiere of Brandon Lopez’s Alls Well That Ends at Issue Project Room (NYC), Kenji Sakai’s Fanfare Towards the Dusk at the Music From Japan Festival 2017, and Chris Pitsiokos’ Working from Postcards is Good Enough If You Are Francis Picabia at Art for Art’s 2017 festival, Justice is Compassion/Not a Police State.
He is currently pursuing a DMA in composition at Columbia University where he studies with George Lewis.
[Photograph by Richard Lenz]