|Born March 4, 1928 in Mannheim, Germany, Samuel Adler came to the United States in 1939. He was educated at Boston University and Harvard University, and has received four honorary doctorates (Southern Methodist University, Wake Forest University, St. Mary’s Notre-Dame and the St. Louis Conservatory). His major teachers in composition were Herbert Fromm, Walter Piston, Randall Thompson, Paul Hindemith and Aaron Copland; in conducting, Serge Koussevitzky. Inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in May, 2001, Samuel Adler is the composer of over 400 works, including 5 operas, 6 Symphonies, 12 concerti, 8 string quartets, 4 oratorios, many other orchestral, band, chamber, choral works and songs, which have been performed all over the world. He is also the author of three important books on music: Choral Conducting, an anthology (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 overseas.
Adler 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 to 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, TX (1953-1966) and Instructor of Fine Arts at the Hockaday School in Dallas, TX (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 of the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. He has given master classes and workshops at over 3000 Universities throughout the world, and in the summers he has taught at major music festivals such as Tanglewood (Berkshire Music Center), Aspen, Brevard, Bowdoin, as well as others in France, Germany, Israel, Spain, Austria, Poland, South America, Korea and China.
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 as Composer of the Year (1988-1989) and a special citation by the American Federation of Music Clubs (2001). In 1983, he won the Deems Taylor Award for his book The Study of Orchestration. In 1988-89, he was a designated Phi Beta Kappa Scholar, in 1989 he received the Eastman School’s Eisenhard Award for distinguished teaching and in 1991 he was honored by being named Composer of the Year by the American Guild of Organists. Adler was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (1975-1976), has been a MacDowell Fellow five times and during his second visit 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. 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, he was awarded the Army’s Medal of Honor. In May, 2003, Adler was awarded the Aaron Copland Award by ASCAP on the occasion of his 75th birthday for life-time achievement in Composition and Teaching.
Samuel Adler has appeared as a conductor with many major symphony orchestras, both in the United States and abroad. In addition to Carl Fischer, his compositions are published by Theodore Presser, Oxford University Press, G. Schirmer, E. C. Schirmer, Peters Edition, Ludwig Music, Southern Music Publishers, Transcontinental Music Publishers and have been recorded on the Naxos, Gasparo, Albany, CRI, Crystal, New World and Vanguard labels.