Samuel Hans Adler (born March 4, 1928) is an American composer and conductor, who was born to a Jewish family in Mannheim, Germany, the son of Hugo Chaim Adler, a cantor and composer, and Selma Adler. The family fled to the United States in 1939, where Hugo became the cantor of Temple Emanuel in Worcester, MA. Sam followed his father into the music profession, earning degrees from Boston University and Harvard University, where he studied with Herbert Fromm, Aaron Copland, Paul Hindemith, Paul Pisk, Walter Piston, and Randall Thompson, and earned an M.A. in 1950. He also studied conducting with Serge Koussevitzky at Tanglewood in 1949. Adler has been awarded honorary doctorates from Southern Methodist and Wake Forest Universities, St. Mary’s College of Notre Dame, and the St. Louis Conservatory of Music. While serving in the United States Army from 1950 to 1952, he founded and conducted the Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra.
After his military service Adler was offered a conducting position just vacated by Leonard Bernstein on the faculty of Brandeis University but instead accepted a position as music director at Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, Texas, where the rabbi, Levi Olan, was a friend of Adler’s family. Adler began his tenure in Dallas in 1953. At the Dallas temple he formed a children’s choir and an adult choir and made the latter a prominent part of the religious services, often performing contemporary Jewish choral works that might otherwise have been neglected. From 1954 to 1958 Adler conducted the Dallas Lyric Theater and the Dallas Chorale and was instructor of Fine Arts at the Hockaday School in Dallas, Texas (1955-1966).. Adler is married to Dr. Emily Freeman-Brown of Bowling Green State University, who serves as Director of Orchestral Activities. From 1957 to 1966, Adler served as Professor of Composition at the University of North Texas College of Music. Between 1966 and 1995, Adler served as Professor of Composition at the Eastman School of Music and served as chair of the composition department from 1974 until his retirement. Since 1997, Adler has been a member of the composition faculty at Juilliard and, for the 2009–10 year, was awarded the 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, and Bowdoin, as well as others in France, Germany, Israel, Spain, Austria, Poland, South America, and Korea. He is also 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), which in 1983 won the Deems Taylor Award. He has also contributed numerous articles to major magazines, books, and encyclopaedias published in the U.S. and abroad. Since 1997 he has been a member of the composition faculty at the Juilliard School in New York City. Among his most successful students are composers Fisher Tull, Kamran Ince, Eric Ewazen, Claude Baker, Marc Mellits, Robert Paterson, Gordon Stout, Chris Theofanidis, Michael Glenn Williams and Roger Briggs.
Adler has been awarded many prizes. He was a MacDowell Fellow for five years between 1954 and 1963. He was initiated as an honorary member of the Gamma Theta (1960, University of North Texas) and the Alpha Alpha (1966, National Honorary) chapters of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and in 1986 was named a National Arts Associate to Sigma Alpha Iota, international music fraternity for women. In 1984, he was appointed Honorary Professorial Fellow of the University College in Cardiff, Wales, and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for 1984–85. In 1986 he received the “Distinguished Alumni Award” from Boston University.The Music Teachers’ National Association selected Adler as its “Composer of the Year 1986-87” for Quintalogues, which won the national competition. In the 1988–89 year, he has been designated “Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar.” In 1989, he was awarded The Eastman School’s Eisenhart Award for distinguished teaching, and he has been given the honor of Composer of the Year (1991) for the American Guild of Organists.
During his second visit to Chile, Adler was elected to the Chilean Academy of Fine Arts (1993) “for his outstanding contributions to the world of music as composer, conductor, and author.” In 1999, he was elected to the Berlin Akademie der Künste in Germany for distinguished service to music. He also received a membership into the American Academy in Berlin and Institute of Arts and Letters awarded in May 2001, the Charles Ives Award, and the Lillian Fairchild Award. In May, 2003, he was presented with the Aaron Copland Award by ASCAP for Lifetime Achievement in Music (Composition and Teaching). In 2008 he was inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame. Adler’s catalogue includes over 400 published works in all media, including five operas, six symphonies, nine string quartets, at least twelve concerti (organ, piano, violin, viola or clarinet, cello, flute, guitar, saxophone quartet, woodwind quintet), many shorter orchestral works, five oratorios, works for wind ensemble and band, chamber music, a great deal of choral music and songs, which have been performed all over the world.
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 Brass 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 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-Kalmus Music Masters, Southern Music Publishers, Transcontinental Music Publishers, and Leupold Music. Recordings of his works have been done on Naxos, RCA, Gasparo, Albany, CRI, Crystal and Vanguard.
My collection includes the following work by Samuel Adler:
Concerto for Flute and Orchestra (1977).
—material selected, adapted, and edited from several different sources