On April 27, The College of Saint Rose celebrates the 90th birthday of music-history legend Samuel Adler, one of the last of the old guard of great American composers. Adler, an inductee of the American Classical Music Hall of Fame who studied with composers Aaron Copland, Walter Piston, and Paul Hindemith, will visit the Massry Center for the Arts at Saint Rose to talk about his work and life experiences and preside over a master class for composition students.
A lifelong music maker and teacher who taught at the Eastman School of Music from 1966 to 1995 (later joining the Juilliard composition faculty), Adler has composed over 400 works and is a major influence in American music. His family first came to the U.S. in 1939, fleeing Nazi persecution in their native Mannheim. Following in the footsteps of his father, a revered composer and cantor, Adler earned music degrees at Boston University and Harvard before becoming a music director and educator, as well as a leader in the Jewish community.
While on active duty in the U.S. Army, Adler founded the Seventh Army Symphony (1952-1962), visiting his native Germany as the group’s conductor. “Although he had left as a refugee, he did much to develop a wonderfully productive relationship with Germany,” said Saint Rose composition professor Bruce Roter, who studied with Adler at Eastman.
A demanding but warm and nurturing teacher, Alder always encouraged students to write the best music they could, and supported their forays into new directions, such as electronic music. “He was always very open to new directions and experimentation,” said Roter.
Continuing to produce prolifically even after turning 90 in March, Adler recently published his memoirs and completed a tuba concerto, and soon will be embarking on a European tour. “He has such a productive, life-affirming career,” said Roter. “Our students can benefit from his force of energy and enthusiasm. He is a truly inspiring musician who has always advocated for the best music, performed at the highest levels of musicianship.”
See Samuel Adler on Friday, April 27, in Massry Center for the Arts, 1002 Madison Avenue, Albany.
Saint Rose events are free and open to the public:
10:25 a.m.: A selection of Adler’s works performed by Saint Rose faculty, followed by a Q&A with Adler, conducted by Bruce Roter. Room 304.
1 to 3 p.m. Students perform their compositions for Adler’s critique in Picotte Recital Hall, Massry Center for the Arts.
In addition, at 3 p.m. Aprll 29 at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, the Empire State Youth Orchestra will perform works by Adler and Leonard Bernstein and Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor, and present the world premiere of “A Birthday Celebration!” written by Roter specifically for the occasion.