am Reider is an American accordionist, pianist, composer, and educator. Originally trained as a jazz pianist, Reider has spent many years exploring and interpreting folk music from around the world on the accordion. His original compositions frequently combine jazz improvisation, folk instruments and grooves, and classical structure. As a performer, he’s been featured at Lincoln Center and on NPR and has collaborated with Grammy-nominated musical artists ranging from bluegrass mandolinist Sierra Hull, Venezuelan cuatrista Jorge Glem, and classical violinist Tessa Lark. Reider leads an ensemble of virtuosic acoustic musicians called The Human Hands and has released two records of original music under his name: “Too Hot To Sleep” and the “Human Hands EP.”
Reider grew up in San Francisco, California, in a family of creative, Jewish-American artists and musicians. He began performing at a young age, and was interviewed on Marian McPartland’s “Piano Jazz” on NPR when he graduated high school. At Columbia University, he fell in love with American roots music. While writing his senior thesis comparing the songwriting of Woody Guthrie and Ira Gershwin, Sam began studying bluegrass and old-time, transcribing the fiddle melodies for the accordion and learning to sing the songs. This set him off on a journey that has taken him from back porches and dive bars to concert halls and major festivals in practically every state in the country.
Representing the U.S. Department of State as a musical ambassador, Sam has travelled to China, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Estonia, Turkey and Azerbaijan, carrying his accordion on his back everywhere he goes and collaborating at with international artists. Sounds and stories from these travels frequently serve as the inspiration for Reider’s compositions, which together form an ongoing musical travelogue.
As a side-man, collaborator and recording artist, Reider has worked with artists including Sierra Hull, Jorge Glem, Phoebe Hunt, Courtney Hartman, Jon Batiste and Stay Human, T-Pain, David Amram, Nellie McKay Ranger Doug, the Brother Brothers and more. A passionate educator, Reider leads ongoing performances for public school students throughout the New York City area in partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center. He has designed curricula and taught courses at the Stanford Jazz Festival, San Francisco Jazz, and other private institutions around the country.