Adam, Claus, Austrian-born American cellist, pedagogue, and composer; b. Sumatra, Dutch East Indies (of Austrian parents), Nov. 5, 1917; d. N.Y., July 4, 1983. His father was an ethnologist. After studies at the Salzburg Mozarteum, he went to N.Y. in 1929 and became a naturalized citizen in 1935. He studied cello with Stoffnegen, Dounis, and Feuermann, conducting with Barzin, and composition with Blatt. After playing in the National Orchestral Assn. in N.Y. (1935–40), he was first cellist in the Minneapolis Sym. Orch. (1940–43). Following composition lessons with Wolpe, he was a cellist with WOR Radio in N.Y. (1946–48) and the New Music Quartet (1948–55). From 1955 to 1974 he was a member of the Juilliard String Quartet. He also taught at the Juilliard School of Music (1955–83) and the Mannes Coll. of Music (1974–83) in N.Y., numbering among his students Stephen Kates, who premiered his Cello Concerto, and Joel Krosnick, who eventually replaced him in the Juilliard String Quartet. In 1976 he was composer-in-residence at the American Academy in Rome. Adam’s career as a composer was overshadowed by his success as a cellist and pedagogue. His works, which were marked by pragmatic modernism free from doctrinaire adherence to any particular technique, included a Cello Concerto (1972-73; Cincinnati, Oct. 26, 1973), Concerto Variations for Orch. (1976; N.Y., April 5, 1977), 2 string quartets (1948, 1975), Piano Sonata (N.Y., May 2, 1948), String Trio (1967), Herbstgesang for Soprano and Piano, after Trakl (1969), Fantasy for Cello (1980), and Toccato and Elegie for String Quartet (1983; from an unfinished 3rd string quartet).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire