top of page

Sam Um


Headshot placeholder.jpg

Sam Seyong Um is a percussion artist, performer, and educator. Sam has been featured in many music series and festivals such as Yellow Barn, Musical Masterworks, Nasher Sculpture Center and has appeared on the stages of renowned halls such as Carnegie Hall, Cite De la Musique of the Philharmonie de Paris, Shanghai Symphony Hall, and the Kennedy Center.

As a soloist, Sam was awarded Alice Rosner Prize from the ARD International Music Competition in 2019, for the interpretation of Isabelle Dances by Steven Stucky, and was the only participant from the United States. Sam has been part of the world premiere of the newly-commissioned piece, “Drum Circles”, by the world-renowned composer, Christopher Theofanidis with the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, and the world premiere of the concerto version of “Seaborne” by Garth Neustadter with the Louisville Symphony Orchestra. Upcoming engagements include performances with The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and with the Grant Park Symphony. Sam has also performed with the Yale Philharmonia under the direction of Maestro Peter Ounjian as the winner of the Woolsey Hall competition. He was also the winner of the concerto competition at the Eastman School of Music and a recipient of 3rd place at the 2012 PAS Marimba Competition. Sam has also been featured as a soloist in front of The Curtis Composer’s Orchestra, The Yale Band, and The Walter Johnson Wind Ensemble.

As a chamber musician, Sam is a member of The Percussion Collective which emerged from one of the world’s foremost student percussion ensembles, the Yale Percussion Group. The Percussion Collective has commissioned “Seaborne” from a world-renowned composer, Garth Neaustadter. Sam has been part of the US tour and the China tour with The Percussion Collective performing in cities such as New York, Nashville, Shanghai, Beijing, Nanjing, Amherst, and Baltimore. The Percussion Collective is anticipating its first European Tour, performing in world-renowned halls such as Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Musikverein in Vienna, Purcell Room in London, Allerheiligen-Hofkirche in Munich. The Percussion Collective is under the management of Colbert Arts Management. Sam has a passion for contemporary music and cross-disciplinary collaboration. Sam was an artist for Yellowbarn Summer Music Festival from 2016 to 2019, where he performed with world-class musicians such as Anthony Marwood, Tony Arnold, Tara O’Connor, Natasha Brofsky, Lucy Shelton, Eduardo Leandro. Seth Knopp, and Vivian Wilerstein.

Sam is also a huge advocate for world music, participating with Cambodian Living Arts for their performance of “Bangsokol: a Requiem for Cambodia” at Cite De la Musique de Philharmonie de Paris in Paris. Also, Sam grew up in South Korea where he was actively performing “samulnori”, Korean traditional music.

As an active educator, Sam is currently a faculty member at the University of Kansas, teaching percussion performance majors, as well as directing KU’s percussion group. Sam has given lectures, masterclasses, and clinics at The Curtis Institute, Vanderbilt University, The Peabody Conservatory, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, The Eastman School of Music Summer at Eastman program, The University of Maryland, and New Life Foundation. Sam also has been featured as a performer for many international, national, and local conventions and conferences such as the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, College Band Directors National Association Conference, and Maryland Music Educators Association.

Sam is an active artist in community outreach and community engagement programs performing internationally in various places such as Spain, Mexico, Costa Rica, and the United States with programs such as the YellowBarn Music Haul, and The New Life Foundation. Sam has also been featured with the United Nations Chamber Music Society’s children’s concert to help to fund the Teach the World Foundation.

Sam earned his Master’s degrees at the Yale School of Music as a Havemeyer Scholarship recipient under Robert van Sice. He earned his Bachelor’s degree at the Eastman School of Music with the Howard Hanson Scholarship and John Beck Scholarship under Michael Burritt and was honored with the prestigious Performer’s Certificate. Sam is currently finishing up his Doctoral degree at the Peabody Conservatory. Sam is a Zildjian Cymbals, Pearl Drums / Adams Percussion, Vic Firth, Black Swamp Percussion, and Evans Drumheads artist.

bottom of page