|Adler, Samuel (b. March 4, 1928,
Mannheim). German-born American composer of mostly stage, orchestral,
chamber, choral, vocal, piano, and organ works that have been performed
throughout the world; he is also active as a conductor.
Prof. Adler is the son of cantor-composer Hugo Adler, who moved the family to the USA in 1939. He studied violin with Albert Levy as a child and later studied composition with Herbert Fromm and Hugo Norden at Boston University, where he earned his BMus in 1948. He then studied with Aaron Copland, Paul Hindemith, Paul Pisk, Walter Piston, and Randall Thompson at Harvard University, where he earned his MA in 1950, and also studied conducting with Sergey Koussevitzky at Tanglewood in 1949. He received honorary doctorates from the St. Louis Conservatory, St. Mary's Notre-Dame, Southern Methodist University, and Wake Forest University from 1968-79.
Among his honors are the Army Medal of Honor (1953, for his organization of the Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra), the Charles Ives Living Prize (1961), the Lillian Fairchild Award (1974), and the Deems Taylor Award (1983, for The Study of Orchestration). Other honors include the Composer of the Year Award from MTNA (1988-89), the Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1990) and the Special Citation from the American Foundation of Music Clubs (2001).
He has received grants from the Rockefeller (1965) and Ford (1966-71) foundations, as well as five MacDowell fellowships (1954-55, 1957, 1959, 1964) and one Guggenheim Fellowship (1975-76). He has been a member of the Academia Chilena de Bellas Artes since 1993, the Akademie der Künste in Mannheim since 1999 and the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 2001.
As a conductor, he has led orchestras throughout the USA and conducted the Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra in Europe from 1950-52. He served as music director at Temple Emanu-El in Dallas from 1953-66 and of the Dallas Chorale and Dallas Lyric Theater from 1954-58.
His books are Anthology for the Teaching of Choral Conducting (1971, Holt, Reinhart and Winston; second edition, 1985, Schirmer Books), Sight Singing (1979, second edition, 1997, W.W. Norton) and The Study of Orchestration (1982, second edition, 1989, third edition, 2001, W.W. Norton).
He taught Fine Arts at the Hockaday School in Dallas from 1955-66 and taught as a professor of composition at North Texas State University from 1957-66. He then taught at the Eastman School of Music from 1966-95, where he served as chair of the composition department from 1974-95 and retired as professor emeritus, and has taught at the Juilliard School since 1997. He has given lectures throughout the Americas and in Asia and Europe and served as the Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University College in Cardiff in 1984-85.
In addition to his original compositions, Prof. Adler has made numerous arrangements and has written didactic music.
Samuel Adler was born March 4, 1928, Mannheim, Germany and came to the United States in 1939. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in May 2001, and then inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame in October 2008. He is the composer of over 400 published works, including 5 operas, 6 symphonies, 12 concerti, 8 string quartets, 4 oratorios and many other orchestral, band, chamber and choral works and songs, which have been performed all over the world. He is the author of three books, Choral Conducting (Holt Reinhart and Winston 1971, second edition Schirmer Books 1985), Sight Singing (W.W. Norton 1979, 1997), and The Study of Orchestration (W.W. Norton 1982, 1989, 2001). He has also contributed numerous articles to major magazines and books published in the U.S. and abroad.
Adler was educated at Boston University and Harvard University, and holds honorary doctorates from Southern Methodist University, Wake Forest University, St. Mary’s Notre-Dame and the St. Louis Conservatory. His major teachers were: in composition, Herbert Fromm, Walter Piston, Randall Thompson, Paul Hindemith and Aaron Copland; in conducting, Serge Koussevitzky.
He is Professor-emeritus at the Eastman School of Music where he taught from 1966 to 1995 and served as chair of the composition department from 1974 until his retirement. Before going to Eastman, Adler served as professor of composition at the University of North Texas (1957-1977), Music Director at Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, Texas (1953-1966), and instructor of Fine Arts at the Hockaday School in Dallas, Texas (1955-1966). From 1954 to 1958 he was music director of the Dallas Lyric Theater and the Dallas Chorale. Since 1997 he has been a member of the composition faculty at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City, and was awarded the 2009-10 William Schuman Scholars Chair. Adler has given master classes and workshops at over 300 universities worldwide, and in the summers has taught at major music festivals such as Tanglewood, Aspen, Brevard, Bowdoin, as well as others in France, Germany, Israel, Spain, Austria, Poland, South America and Korea.
Some recent commissions have been from the Cleveland Orchestra (Cello Concerto), the National Symphony (Piano Concerto No. 1), the Dallas Symphony (Lux Perpetua), the Pittsburgh Symphony (Viola Concerto), the Houston Symphony (Horn Concerto), the Barlow Foundation/Atlanta Symphony (Choose Life), the American Brass Quintet, the Wolf Trap Foundation, the Berlin-Bochum Bass Ensemble, the Ying Quartet and the American String Quartet to name only a few. His works have been performed lately by the St. Louis Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Mannheim Nationaltheater Orchestra. Besides these commissions and performances, previous commissions have been received from the National Endowment for the Arts (1975, 1978, 1980 and 1982), the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, the Koussevitzky Foundation, the City of Jerusalem, the Welsh Arts Council and many others.
Adler has been awarded many
prizes including a 1990 award from the
American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Charles Ives Award, the
Lillian Fairchild Award, the MTNA Award for Composer of the Year
(1988-1989), and a Special Citation by the American Foundation of Music
Clubs (2001). In 1983 he won the Deems Taylor Award for his book, The
Study of Orchestration.
In 1988-1989 he was designated “Phi Beta Kappa Scholar.” In 1989 he
received the Eastman School’s Eisenhard Award for Distinguished
Teaching. In 1991 he was honored being named the Composer of the Year
by the American Guild of Organists. Adler was awarded a Guggenheim
Fellowship (1975-1976); he has been a MacDowell Fellow for five years
and; during his second trip to Chile, he was elected to the Chilean
Academy of Fine Arts (1993) “for his outstanding contribution to the
world of music as a composer.” In 1999, he was elected to the Akademie
der Kuenste in Germany for distinguished service to music. While
serving in the United States Army (1950-1952), Adler founded and
conducted the Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra and, because of the
Orchestra’s great psychological and musical impact on European culture,
was awarded a special Army citation for distinguished service. In May,
2003, he was presented with the Aaron Copland Award by ASCAP, for
Lifetime Achievement in Music (Composition and Teaching).
Adler has appeared as conductor
with many major symphony orchestras, both in the U.S. and abroad.
His compositions are published by Theodore Presser Company, Oxford
University Press, G. Schirmer, Carl Fischer, E.C. Schirmer, Peters
Edition, Ludwig Music, Southern Music Publishers, Transcontinental
Music Publishers. Recordings of his works have been done on RCA,
Gasparo, Albany, CRI, Crystal and Vanguard.
This interview was recorded at Bruce Duffie’s studio in Chicago on January 21, 1991. Portions (along with recordings) were used on WNIB in 1993, and twice in 1998. Programs were also presented on WNUR in 2005 and 2010, and on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio in 2006 and 2008. This transcription was made and posted on this website in 2012.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been
transcribed and posted on this website, click here.
Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM, as well as on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.