Commander Adam Williamson serves as the seventh director of the United States Coast Guard Band, carrying out the band’s missions of promoting public goodwill through the highest level of musical performance and supporting official Coast Guard functions. Williamson is responsible for the overall presentation of all Coast Guard Band activities, for maintaining the world-class stature of the 55-member ensemble and for supporting hundreds of engagements annually.
Williamson originally joined the Coast Guard Band as tenor saxophonist in 2003 and was a featured soloist on multiple occasions, including the band’s 2007 Southeast Tour and at notable venues such as Carnegie Hall and Boston’s Hatch Shell. As a member of the Coast Guard Band Saxophone Quartet, he performed concerts and conducted masterclasses extensively throughout the United States and abroad. Williamson served in the saxophone section for ten years before being named director.
As the leader of the sole official musical representative of the Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard, Williamson provides musical guidance for official functions and creates musical programmes to advance the Coast Guard’s public affairs missions. In his time as director, Williamson has led the Coast Guard Band in performances for President Trump, President Obama, members of Congress, Department of Homeland Security secretaries and Coast Guard leadership.
The Coast Guard Band performed for the 2015 National Tree Lighting in Washington, D.C., and marched in the 2017 Presidential Inaugural Parade. Williamson is committed to supporting music education and during his tenure has expanded the Coast Guard Band’s outreach programmes, now reaching more than 14,000 students in Connecticut and Washington, D.C.
He created the American Composers Series recordings to capture the musical language, sound and aesthetic of living American composers, so far recording the works of Kenneth Fuchs and Jess Langston Turner. His endeavour to engage a worldwide audience has led to extensive use of online and social media platforms, enabling the Coast Guard Band’s concerts and outreach activities to be broadcast to millions around the globe.
Williamson earned musical degrees from the State University of New York at Potsdam, studying saxophone with Timothy McAllister. He began graduate studies at Indiana University with saxophonist Otis Murphy. He attended the Hartt School at the University of Hartford, where he studied instrumental conducting with Glen Adsit and Edward Cumming.