Sam Weiser is an unusual young musician by any account. He currently attends the Tufts University and New England Conservatory joint program, focusing on Economics and Computer Science at Tufts and Classical Violin Performance under James Buswell, at NEC.
Sam began studying classical violin at the age of three and expanded his musical world to include Jazz, Celtic, Texas Swing, Latin, Klezmer and World Music by the age of ten.While he was a full-time honors student at traditional, top -notch public schools,he studied at the Manhattan School of Music pre college division where he was privileged to study under the tutelage of famed classical pedagogue Patinka Kopec and jazz artist Sara Caswell. He was the first student at MSM to double major in Classical violin and jazz violin.
Classical music comprises the bulk of his musical focus. Sam was Concertmaster and soloist at Norwalk Youth Symphony by age ten and has since been Concertmaster and sectional instructor of numerous orchestras, including the Fairfield County Honors, Staples High School Chamber, Westport All-City and Staples High School Symphonic. He was a first violinist with the Regional and All-State orchestras even before he began attending MSM. In 2010, Sam was selected as the soloist and educator for the 33rd Annual Fairfield County Strings Festival. He has been awarded scholarships from music clubs and has been a finalist and winner of various concerto competitions around the NY metropolitan area.
Sam is also an avid chamber music player. He studied chamber music under Asya Meshberg, formerly of the New York Philharmonic, for over six years, and performed at numerous venues, large and small, with her Institute for Young Musicians. Sam was selected as the first violinist in the Leon Tec Chamber Showcase for Outstanding Young Musicians. He also currently studies chamber music at MSM with department chair John Forconi. He studied with Wendy Sharp of Yale University at California Summer Music for two years. He attended the Heifetz International Summer Institute for t two years, where he studied with Grigory Kalinovsky, Daniel Heifetz and Patinka Kopec. He spent last summer at the” QP”, the Castleman Quartet program.
Sam’s interests and education span the world of improvisational and world music. Sam has attended virtually all of the Mark O’Connor Strings Camps for the past nine years. He has studied and jammed with some of the most creative and innovative string players in the world. He has built long lasting and deep relationships at the camps with both students and faculty. Sam has performed with Mark O’Connor both as a soloist and as an ensemble member at numerous venues including Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, Le Poisson Rogue, teacher conferences and The River to River series at Pace University. He has taken master classes, attended camps and studied privately with great musicians such as John Blake, Jr., Christian Howes, Bobby Hicks, Buddy Spicher, Billy Contreras and Darol Anger.
Sam was honored to be the 2008/9 recipient of the Daniel Pearl Memorial Violin and the 2009/10 National ASTA Alternative Strings award winner for his excellence in improvisational work. He was named a 2012 merit awardee in the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts for his jazz and will participate and perform in the five day festival at Lincoln Center in March 2012.
Sam’s debut cd, sam I am, on disappear records, was released in February 2010 to critical acclaim heralding his musicality, warmth and skill by reviewers such as the Boston Globe’s Steve Morse, creative strings legends and mainstream jazz critics. It was produced by Grammy nominee and folk icon SONiA. He was privileged to work with many great musicians for his debut, including Dennis Chambers (Carlos Santana), Lulo Reinhardt (Sinti Gypsy guitarist), Phoebe Hunt (Austin’s Belleville Outfit), Yale Strom (Klezmer legend), Mike Block (Yo-Yo’ Ma’s Silk Roads, GALA-NYC), Sara Caswell and SONiA. He headlined a mini-tour of the east coast in support of his cd, including a showcase at Folk Alliance, joined by SONiA and cello playing, rising star Nat Smith (Natalie MacMaster, Jeremy Kittel).
Sam’s new cd, produced by SONiA, entitled String Theory, was released on January 10, 2012. It is comprised of original instrumental compositions and one unique variation on cover tunes, all arranged and performed by Sam. The material is evocative and complex yet utterly approachable and clings to it’s acoustic, melodic soul. Sam is supported by innovative collaborators- Mike Block, on cello ( Silk Roads), Micheal Bowie, on bass (Manhattan Transfer), Tony Corelli , piano and SONiA on guitar and Laura Cerulli on percussion.
Samuel is also a member of The Wayside,a folk group that has just recorded their demo cd.
Sam is an avid fantasy baseball and football player and often sets up teams with his friends for national tournaments. He is a committed Major League Baseball aficionado and valiantly follows the NY Mets. He also roots without reservation for the Giants and the Jets. He spent much of his formative years beating every known Madden game as well as playing travel soccer, some tennis and little league baseball.
Sam is very generous. He routinely donates his time to performing for charities – FODfest, Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundations, Breast Cancer research fundraisers, JNF Green Initiatives, Music For Youth, Staples High School Tri-M Music Honors Society, Circle of Friends, Holocaust memorials and many more throughout the United States (please see Sam Supports in this website for a full list). At these events, he has performed with Chip Taylor, Tom Chapin and the educational group Common Chords which pairs klezmer and middle eastern rock musicians and many others. At Sam’s behest, all of the profits from his first cd are being donated to the Daniel Pearl Foundation and FODfest.