"An exuberantly expressive pianist" who "vividly displayed his enthusiasm for every phrase" (Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times), a “maverick pianist” (The New Yorker), a "modern-music evangelist" (Time Out New York), who "has managed to get behind and underneath the notes... living inside the music and making poetic sense of it all.  If they gave medals for musical bravery, dexterity and perseverance, Adam Tendler would earn them all." (Tim Smith, Baltimore Sun)  Nominated for the 2012 American Pianists Association Classical Fellowship Award, and a finalist for the 2013 American Prize, Tendler is quickly emerging as one of the country's most prolific and unique pianists, building an international reputation through original programming, a grassroots approach to classical music making, and wide-ranging projects, from evening-length concerts to books to performance art.

Tendler first made national headlines with America 88x50, a completely independent, completely unsponsored recital tour created and conducted out of his Hyundai and offered for free to underserved communities in all fifty states.  Celebrated for his uncompromising recital programming, innovative teaching style, unapologetic literary voice, and bold original compositions, he has gone on to perform internationally, direct classical music initiatives across the country, serve as an announcer and contemporary music liaison for NPR and Pacifica radio stations nationwide, and has been invited to perform and speak at Princeton University, New York University, Kenyon College, Portland State University, University of Nebraska, Boston Conservatory, San Francisco Conservatory, Rice University (Shepherd School of Music), University of Alaska, and a number of others.

As a student at Indiana University studying under such legendary figures as Shigeo Neriki, Karen Shaw, Emile Naumoff, Evelyn Brancart, and Luba Dubinsky, Tendler already gained recognition in Bloomington, including from critic Peter Jacobi, who called him “a pianist in command, deserving of the cheers he received.” Graduating early with highest honors and with several special admissions to graduate-level courses, Tendler was immediately approached to edit and revise The History of American Classical Music, a historical narrative by John Warthen Struble forwarded by Philip Glass, a project that led to Tendler’s landmark fifty-state tour, America 88x50.

As an administrator, he was the founding director of a nightly live jazz and classical music series at Soho House New York, and before that, served as Artistic Director of Houston’s Foundation for Modern Music and the classical music director of MECA (Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts). He has also collaborated with presenting forces at Dixon Place Experimental Theatre, New York Soundcircuit, and the innovative Party & Play chamber reading events. 

With listeners across the globe and appearances in some of the country’s most prestigious venues, and recognized as an authority in modern American music, Tendler continues to tour extensively. He traveled throughout 2012 with a memorized performance John Cage’s complete Sonatas and Interludes to honor the composer’s centenary—including a sold out New York City debut at the Rubin Museum and a festival performance at Symphony Space on the composer’s birthday named one of the Top 10 of 2012 by New York Magazine. His recent protest piece for piano and cell phones, HATE SPEECH has been performed in cities across the country, with performances planned for Europe. Tendler’s recital/literary reading, “things i’ve never done in public,” premiered at Dixon Place in the spring of 2012, spurring a new genre of reading recitals that he has taken to libraries and concert halls throughout the United States. He has also developed the touring benefit, “Night Thoughts,” a program of modern American music with proceeds going to local AIDS and GLBTQ outreach organizations. He continues to tour as a speaker, pianist, chamber musician and advocate, and in 2013 made his Carnegie Hall debut. 

Now based in New York City, Tendler maintains his provocative blog, The Dissonant States, and just published his long-awaited memoir, 88x50, about coming-out and coming-of-age during the America 88x50 tour, recently chosen as a Kirkus Indie Book of the Month. He was featured in 2012 as an election season guest keynote speaker for a Human Rights Campaign event in Boston, and has proudly performed in outreaches for students and youth penitentiary inmates, as well as for clients at Gay Men’s Health Crisis in New York City. 

Tendler is currently developing an album of music by composer Robert Palmer on the Albany label, and will soon release the premiere recording of Edward T. Cone’s 21 Preludes for piano. He serves on the piano faculty of the Third Street Music School Settlement.