Adler, Samuel (Hans)

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Adler, Samuel (Hans)

Adler, Samuel (Hans), esteemed German-born American composer, conductor, and pedagogue; b. Mannheim, March 4, 1928. His father was a cantor and composer, and his mother an amateur pianist. Adler began violin study as a child with Albert Levy. In 1939 the family emigrated to the U.S. After composition lessons with Fromm in Boston (1941–46), he studied with Hugo Norden (composition) and Geiringer (musi-cology) at Boston Univ. (B.M., 1948) before pursuing composition training with Piston, Thompson, and Fine at Harvard Univ. (M.A., 1950). He also attended the classes of Copland (composition) and Koussevitzky (conducting) at the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood (summers, 1949-50). In 1950 he joined the U.S. Army, and was founder-conductor of the 7th Army Sym. Orch., for which he received the Army Medal of Honor. Upon his discharge, he went to Dallas as music director of Temple Emanu-El (1953–56) and of the Lyric Theater (1954–58). From 1957 to 1966 he was prof. of composition at N. Tex. State Univ. in Dentón. He was prof. of composition (1966–94) and chairman of the music dept. (1973–94) at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. In 1997 he became prof. of composition at the Juilliard School in N.Y. Adler has received many honors and awards, including the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award (1983) for his book The Study of Orchestration. In 1984-85 he held a Guggenheim fellowship. In 1990 he received an award from the American Academy and Inst. of Arts and Letters. In his compositions, he has followed a path of midstream modernism, in which densely interwoven contrapuntal lines support the basically tonal harmonic complex, with a frequent incidence of tangential atonal episodes. Much of his music is inspired by the liturgical cantilena of traditional Jewish music while oriental inflections also occur.


DRAMATIC: The Outcasts of Poker Flat, opera (1959; Dentón, Tex., June 8, 1962); The Wrestler, sacred opera (1971; Dallas, May 1972); The Lodge of Shadows, music drama for Baritone, Dancers, and Orch. (1973; Fort Worth, Tex., May 3, 1988); The Disappointment, reconstruction of an early American ballad opera of 1767 (1974; Washington, D.C., Nov. 1976); The Waking, celebration for Dancers, Chorus, and Orch. (1978; Louisville, April 1979). ORCH.: 6 syms: No. 1 (Dallas, Dec. 7, 1953), No. 2 (1957; Dallas, Feb. 12, 1958), No. 3, Diptych (1960; rev. 1980-81), No. 4, Geometries (1967; Dallas, May 1970), No. 5, We Are the Echoes, for Mezzo-soprano and Orch. (Fort Worth, Tex., Nov. 10, 1975), and No. 6 (1985); 3 concertinos (1954, 1976, 1993); Toccata (1954); Summer Stock, overture (1955); The Feast of Lights (1955); Jubilee (1958) Rhapsody for Violin and Orch. (1961); Song and Dance for Viola and Orch. (1961); 4 Early American Folk Songs for Strings (1962); Elegy for Strings (1962); Requiescat in Pace, in memory of President John F. Kennedy (1963); City by the Lake (1968); Organ Concerto (1970); Concerto for Orchestra (1971); Sinfonietta (1971); A Little Bit... for Strings (1976); Flute Concerto (1977); Joi, Amor, Cortezia for Chamber Orch. (1982); 2 piano concertos: No. 1 (1983; Washington, D.C., Jan. 3, 1985) and No. 2 (1996; San Francisco, July 6, 1997); In Just Spring, overture (1984); Saxophone Quartet Concerto (1985; Leeuwarden, June 25, 1986); The Fixed Desire of the Human Heart (Geneva, July 5, 1988); Beyond the Land (1988; Oklahoma City, March 10, 1990); Shadow Dances (1990); To Celebrate a Miracle (1991); Wind Quintet Concerto (1991; Mannheim, June 1, 1992); Celebration, for the 100th anniversary of the Cincinnati Sym. Orch. (1993; Cincinnati, Oct. 1995); Guitar Concerto (1994); Cello Concerto (1995; Cleveland, Oct. 6, 1998); Art Creates Artists (1996); Lux Perpetua for Organ and Orch. (1997; Dallas, Feb. 11, 1999); Viola Concerto (1999). Band: Southwestern Sketches (1961); Festive Prelude (1965); Concerto (1968); A Little Night and Day Music (1976); An American Duo (1981); Merrymakers (1982); American Airs and Dances (1998). Wind Ensemble: Double Visions (1987); Ultralight (fanfare; 1990); We Live (fanfare, 1995); Serenata Concertante (1996); Dawn to Glory (1998). Brass: Concert Piece for Brass Choir (1946); Praeludium for Brass Choir (1947); Divertimento for Brass Choir (1948); 5 Vignettes for Trombone Choir (1968); Brass Fragments for Brass Choir (1970); Histrionics for Brass Choir and Percussion (1971); Trumpet Triptych for 7 Trumpets (1979). CHAMBER: 8 string quartets (1945; 1950; 1953, rev. 1964; 1963; 1969; 1975; 1981; 1990); Horn Sonata (1948); 4 violin sonatas (1948, 1956, 1965, 1989); 2 piano trios (1964, 1978); Sonata for Solo Cello (1966); 7 Epigrams for Wind Sextet (1966); Quintalogues for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, and Percussion (1968); Canto I for Trumpet (1970), II for Bass Trombone (1970), III for Violin (1976), IV for Saxophone (1975), V for Soprano, Flute, Cello, and 3 Percussionists (1968), VI for Double Bass (1971), VII for Tuba (1972), VIII for Piano (1973), IX for Timpani and Roto Toms (1976), X for Cello (1979), XI for Horn (1984), XII for Bassoon (1989), XIII for Piccolo (1994), XIV for Clarinet (1996), and XV for English Horn (1996); Xenia for Organ and Percussion (1971); 4 Dialogues for Euphonium and Percussion (1974); Aeolus, King of the Winds for Clarinet and Piano Trio (1978); Line Drawings for Saxophone Quartet (1979); Sonata for Solo Flute (1981); Gottschalkiana for Brass Quintet (1982); Viola Sonata (1984); Oboe Sonata (1985); Double Portrait for Violin and Piano (1985); Sonata for Solo Guitar (1985); Acrostics for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Harpsichord (1986); Herinnering for String Quartet (1987); Pasiphae for Piano and Percussion (1987); Clarinet Sonata (1989); Close Encounters for Violin and Cello (1989); Sounding for Alto Saxophone and Piano (1989); Triolet for Flute, Viola, and Harp (1989); Ports of Call for 2 Violins and Guitar (1992); Into the Radiant Boundries of Light for Viola and Guitar (1993); Clarion Calls, suite for Trumpet and Organ (1995); Diary of a Journey: 4 Snapshots for Flute, Bassoon, and Cello (1995); Contrasting Inventions for Alto and Tenor Saxophone (1998); “Be Not Afraid, the Isle Is Full of Noises” for Brass Quintet (1999). KEYBOARD: Piano: Sonata breve (1963); Gradus (3 books, 1979); Sonatina (1979); Duo Sonata for 2 Pianos (1983); Eine Enge Berg Fugue for Piano, 8-Hands (1996). Organ: 2 meditations (1955, 1964); Toccata, Recitation, and Postlude (1959); Epistrophe, sonata (1990); Festive Proclamation (1995). VOCAL: Miscellany for Mezzo-soprano, English Horn, and String Quartet (1956); The Vision of Isaiah for Bass, Chorus, and Orch. (1962); B’shaaray tefilah, sabbath service for Bass, Chorus, and Organ or Orch. (1963); Behold Your God, Christmas cantata for Soloists, Chorus, Winds, and Percussion (1966); The Binding, oratorio for Chorus and Orch. (1967); From Out of Bondage for Soloists, Chorus, Brass Quintet, Percussion, and Organ (1968); Lament for Baritone and Chamber Orch. (1968); A Whole Bunch of Fun, secular cantata for Mezzo-soprano or Baritone, 3 Choruses, and Orch. (1969); Begin My Muse for Men’s Chorus and Percussion Ensemble (1969); We Believe, ecumenical mass for Mixed Voices and 8 Instruments (1974); A Falling of Saints for Tenor, Baritone, Chorus, and Orch. (1977); Snow Tracks for High Voice and Wind Ensemble (1981); The Flames of Freedom for Chorus and Piano (1982); Choose Life, oratorio for Mezzo-soprano, Tenor, Chorus, and Orch. (1986); High Flight for Chorus and Chamber Orch. (1986); ’Round the Globe, folk song suite for Treble Voices and Piano or Orch. (1986); Stars in the Dust, cantata for Soloists, Chorus, and Orch. (1988); Any Human to Another, cantata for Chorus, Piano, and Orch. (1989); Ever Since Babylon, cantata for Soloists, Chorus, and Orch. (1991; Chicago, March 8, 1992); Reconciliation for Soprano, Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Piano (1992); Time in Tempest Everywhere for Soprano, Oboe, Piano, and Chamber Orch. (1994; Cleveland, May 1, 1995); A Prolific Source of Sorrow: 5 Chinese Songs for Flute and Chorus (1994; Washington, D.C., May 1, 1995); Family Portraits for Chorus and Band (1995); Rogues and Lovers for Chorus and Band (1995; Tampa, Jan. 12, 1996); Psalm Trilogy for Chorus (1997); My Beloved Is Mine for Chorus (1998; N.Y., May 1, 1999).


Anthology for the Teaching of Choral Conducting (N.Y., 1971; 2nd ed., 1985, as Choral Conducting: An Anthology); Singing and Hearing (N.Y., 1979); The Study of Orchestration (N.Y., 1982; 2nd ed., 1989).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire