Sam is a professional horn player in the Baltimore area as well as the founder & artistic director of In the Stacks, a non-profit performing arts series that brings accessible & diverse music to the George Peabody Library.
He recently completed his Master of Music degree in Horn Performance at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Denise Tryon.
Sam earned his Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Denver, studying with Susan McCullough. While in Denver, Bessen served as principal horn of the Pueblo Symphony Orchestra and fourth horn of the Jefferson Symphony Orchestra for their 2014-15 seasons. Other ensembles he appeared with include the Stratus Chamber Orchestra, the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra, the Parker Symphony Orchestra, the Boulder Symphony Orchestra, the Lone Tree Symphony Orchestra, and the Denver Pops Orchestra. Bessen also performed frequently with the Denver Brass, including a performance with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble in 2014.
Sam was a finalist in the T. Gordon Parks Collegiate Concerto Competition, and the winner of the Western Horn Workshop’s Solo Competition in 2014.
Bessen is also member of the Marquee Brass Quintet, which has toured in El Paso, Texas and Mesa, Arizona as part of the Peabody Young Artist Development program. Recently, the ensemble was invited to a weeklong workshop in Ensemble Connect’s Audience Engagement Institute at Carnegie Hall (more can be found at marqueebrass.com).
Sam recently performed an acclaimed recital in the Greek Sculpture gallery at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, and was subsequently invited to perform on the Museum's ART/SOUND/NOW series, where he explored the connection between contemporary music and ancient sculpture.
In recording, Sam can be heard in the Peabody Symphony Orchestra's recordings with Marin Alsop of works by Kevin Puts and Aaron Kernis, as well as in John Steinmetz' "Three Pieces for Ten Winds" with the Mill Avenue Chamber Players and the Pacific Arts Woodwind Quintet.
In his free time, Sam can be found hiking, making pasta, or distracting other people's dogs.