Samuel Adler

(b. 4 March 1928, Mannheim).

American composer, born in Germany, of mostly orchestral, chamber, choral, vocal, piano, and organ works that have been performed throughout the world; he is also active as a conductor and scholar.

Prof. Adler is the son of the cantor and composer Hugo Chaim Adler (b. 1894 – d. 1955). 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 Serge Koussevitzky at the Tanglewood Music Festival in Massachusetts in 1949. He received honorary doctorates from the Community Music School of Webster University in Missouri, Saint Mary's College in Indiana, Southern Methodist University, and Wake Forest University from 1968–79.

Among his honours are the Medal of Honor from the United States Army (1953, for his organisation 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 honours 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). In addition, he has received grants from the Rockefeller Foundation (1965) and the Ford Foundation (1966–71), as well as five fellowships to the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire (1954–55, 1957, 1959, 1964) and the Guggenheim Fellowship (1975–76). He has been a member of the Academia Chilena de Bellas Artes since 1993, the Freie Akademie der Künste Rhein-Neckar 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.

As a scholar, he has written the books Anthology for the Teaching of Choral Conducting (1971, Holt, Rinehart & Winston; second edition, 1985, Schirmer Books), Sight Singing (1979, second edition, 1997, W. W. Norton & Company) and The Study of Orchestration (1982, second edition, 1989, third edition, 2001, W. W. Norton & Company).

He taught fine arts at the Hockaday School in Dallas from 1955–66 and taught as a professor of composition at University of North Texas in Denton from 1957–66. He then taught at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York from 1966–95, where he served as chair of the department of composition from 1974–95 and retired as professor emeritus. He has taught at the Juilliard School in New York, New York since 1997. He has given lectures throughout the Americas and in Asia and Europe. He served as the Honorary Professorial Fellow at Cardiff University in 1984–85.

He has lived in the USA since 1939.

In addition to the works listed below, he has made numerous arrangements and has written didactic music.


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COMPLETE LIST OF WORKS (dates unavailable for some works)


The Outcast of Poker Flat (opera in 1 act, libretto by Judah Stampfer), soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, bass, male chorus, orchestra, 1959

The Wrestler (opera in 1 act, libretto by Judah Stampfer), soprano, mezzo-soprano, 3 tenors, 3 baritones, children's chorus, female chorus, male chorus, orchestra, 1971

The Lodge of Shadows (music drama, text by Jarold Ramsey), baritone, dance troupe, small orchestra, 1973

The Disappointment (reconstruction of a ballad opera from the USA, libretto by Andrew Barton), soprano, mezzo-soprano, 2 tenors, 4 baritones, 2 flutes, oboe, harpsichord, string quartet, double bass, 1974

The Waking (ballet, scenario by the composer, after Countee Cullen, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Theodore Roethke, James Stephens), children's chorus, mixed chorus, orchestra, 1978


Concert Piece, brass, 1946

Praeludium, brass, 1947

Divertimento, brass, 1948

Symphony No. 1, 1953

Toccata, large orchestra, 1954

Concertino No. 1, string orchestra, 1955

The Feast of Lights, 1955

Summer Stock, 1955

Symphony No. 2, 1957

Jubilee, large orchestra, 1958

Southwestern Sketches, symphonic band, 1960

Symphony No. 3, 'Diptych', symphonic band, 1960, revised 1980–81

Rhapsody, violin, orchestra, 1961

Song and Dance, viola, orchestra, 1961

Elegy, string orchestra, 1962

Four Early American Folksongs, string orchestra, 1962

Requiescat in pace (in memoriam John F. Kennedy), 1963

Festive Prelude, symphonic band, 1965

Symphony No. 4, 'Geometrics', 1967

City by the Lake, 1968

Concerto, symphonic band, 1968

Five Vignettes, 12 trombones, 1968

Brass Fragments, brass, 1970

Concerto, organ, orchestra, 1970

Concerto for Orchestra, 1971

Histrionics, symphonic band, 1971

Sinfonietta, 1971

Concertino No. 2, string orchestra, 1976

A Little Bit of..., string orchestra, 1976

A Little Night and Day Music, symphonic band, 1976

Concerto, flute, orchestra, 1977

The Force of Credulity, symphonic band, 1977

An American Duo, symphonic band, 1981

Joi, Amor, Cortezia, small orchestra, 1982

Merrymakers, symphonic band, 1982

Concerto No. 1, piano, orchestra, 1983

In Just Spring, large orchestra, 1984

Concerto, 4 saxophones, orchestra, 1985

Symphony No. 6, 1985

Double Visions, symphonic band, 1987

Beyond the Land (symphony), 1988

The Fixed Desire of the Human Heart, 1988

Shadow Dances, large orchestra, 1990

Ultralight, symphonic band, 1990

Shir Hamaalot (concerto), flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon, orchestra, 1991

To Celebrate a Miracle, 1991 (also version for symphonic band, 1999)

Centennial, 1993

Concertino No. 3, string orchestra, 1993

Concerto, guitar, orchestra, 1994

Concerto, cello, orchestra, 1995

Art Creates Artists, large orchestra, 1996

Concerto No. 2, piano, orchestra, 1996

Lux Perpetua (concerto), organ, large orchestra, 1997

Serenata concertante, flute, oboe, clarinet, alto saxophone, bassoon, symphonic band, 1997

Solemn March, symphonic band, 1997

American Airs and Dances, symphonic band, 1998

Dawn to Glory, symphonic band, 1998

Concerto, viola, orchestra, 1999

Concerto, French horn, orchestra, 2001

Show an Affirming Flame, 2001

Beyond the Pale, clarinet, string orchestra, 2002


Sonata, French horn, piano, 1948

String Quartet No. 3, 1953, revised 1964

Sonata No. 2, violin, piano, 1956

Five Movements, French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba, 1963

String Quartet No. 4, 1963

Introduction and Capriccio, harp, 1964

Music for Eleven, 2 flutes, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, 5 percussion, 1964

Piano Trio No. 1, violin, cello, piano, 1964

Four Studies, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, 1965 (its four sections may be performed separately: Flaunting, flute; Oboration, oboe; Clarinon, clarinet; Bassoonery, bassoon)

Sonata No. 3, violin, piano, 1965

Sonata, cello, 1965

Seven Epigrams, piccolo, flute, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, 1966

Intrada, flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon, 1967

Quintalogues, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, percussion, 1968

String Quartet No. 5, 1969

Canto I, trumpet, 1970

Canto II, bass trombone, 1970

Canto VI, double bass, 1971 (also version as Canto VIA, double bass, 2000)

Xenia, organ, percussion, 1971

Canto VII, tuba, 1972

A Dozen for Two, 2 violins, 1974

Four Dialogues, euphonium, marimba, 1974

Canto IV, alto saxophone, 1975

Déjà vu, 6 recorders, 1975

L'Olam vaed, cello, piano, 1975

Canto III, violin, 1976

Canto IX, timpani (+ rototoms), 1976

Aeolus, King of the Winds, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, 1977

Harobed, flute/clarinet, 1977

Line Drawings, 4 saxophones, 1978

Piano Trio No. 2, violin, cello, piano, 1978

Canto X, cello, 1979

Trumpet Triptych, 7 trumpets, 1979

Tubetudes, tuba, 1980

Sonata, flute, 1981

String Quartet No. 7, 1981

Gottschalkiana, French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba, 1982

Introit and Toccatina, 2 trumpets, organ, 1982

Trumpetry, 2 trumpets, 1983

Canto XI, French horn, 1984

Sonata, viola, piano, 1984

Acrostics, flute, oboe, clarinet, violin, cello, harpsichord, 1985

Double Portrait, violin, piano, 1985

Sonata, guitar, 1985

Sonata, oboe, piano, 1985

Madrigals, 6 flutes, 1986

Pasiphae, piano, percussion, 1987

Meadowmountetudes, violin, 1988

Canto XII, bassoon, 1989

Close Encounters, violin, cello, 1989

Sonata, clarinet, piano, 1989

Sonata No. 4, violin, piano, 1989

Sounding, alto saxophone, piano, 1989

Triolet, flute, harp, viola, 1989

String Quartet No. 8, 1990

Ports of Call, guitar, 2 violins, 1992

Into the Radiant Boundaries of Light, guitar, viola, 1993

Canto XIII, piccolo, 1994

Porgy and Bess' Rondo, marimba, 1994

Clarion Calls, trumpet, organ, 1995

Diary of a Journey, flute, bassoon, cello, 1995

Brahmsiana, 8 French horns, 1997

Canto XIV, clarinet, 1997

Canto XV, English horn, 1997

Pensive Soliloquy, alto saxophone, piano, 1997

Contrasting Inventions, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, 1998

Be Not Afraid: The Isle is Full of Noises, French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba, 1999

Divertissement, violin, marimba, 1999

Canto XVI, double bass, 2000

Piano Quintet, piano, string quartet, 2000

Romp, string quartet, 2000

Scherzo Schmerzo, French horn, 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, tuba, percussion, 2000


Five Choral Poems, mixed chorus, 1954

Three Encore Songs, mixed chorus, 1955

Three Madrigals, mixed chorus, 1955

In Nature's Ebb and Flow (texts by Lizette Woodworth Reese, Edwin Arlington Robinson, Wolfe+585, Emily Dickinson, Edna St. Vincent Millay), female chorus, piano, 1960

Shir chadash (service), baritone, mixed chorus, organ, 1960

Five American Folksongs, mixed chorus, 1961

The Vision of Isaiah (text from the Bible), baritone, mixed chorus, orchestra, 1962

B'Shaaray tefilah (service), baritone, mixed chorus, organ/orchestra, 1963

Contrasts, mixed chorus, 1964

Five Choral Pictures, mixed chorus, 1964

Shiru ladonay (service), mixed chorus/unison chorus, organ, 1965

Behold Your God (cantata, text from the Bible), mixed chorus, French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba, 1966 (also version for mixed chorus, organ, 1966)

The Binding (oratorio, text by Albert Friedlander, after the Bible), boy soprano, soprano, alto, tenor, bass, mixed chorus, orchestra, 1967

From out of Bondage (text from the Bible), soprano, alto, tenor, bass, mixed chorus, French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba, organ, percussion, 1968

Begin My Muse (song-cycle), male chorus, 5 percussion, 1969

Hinay yom hadin – Behold the Day of Judgment, tenor, 4 mixed choruses, 1969

Two Views of Love, male chorus, 1969

A Whole Bunch of Fun (cantata, texts by Gaius Valerius Catullus, Finjan, Thomas Moore, Ogden Nash, Theodore Roethke, Dr. Seuss), soprano, baritone, 3 mixed choruses, orchestra, 1969

Division, mixed chorus, 1971

Serenade (text by William Blake), mixed chorus, harp, symphonic band, 1971

Some Laughter, Some Tears, mixed chorus, 1971

Three Responses, mixed chorus, 1973

V'Shamru, mixed chorus, 1973

Listen to My Word, Lord, mixed chorus, organ, 1974

Seek Thy Servant, mixed chorus, 1974

We Believe: A Hymn of Faith (ecumenical mass), soprano, alto, tenor, bass, mixed chorus, flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, bassoon, violin, cello, amplified harpsichord, percussion, 1974

Blow the Wind Southerly, female chorus, 1975

Jubellied, mixed chorus, 1975

Leisure (madrigal), mixed chorus, 1976

Three Poems from the Chinese, mixed chorus, 1976

A Falling of Saints (text by Samuel Rosenbaum), tenor, bass, mixed chorus, orchestra, 1977

It Is to God I Shall Sing (text from the Book of Psalms), mixed chorus, organ, 1977

Azi v'zimrat ya, mixed chorus, 1978

Eli Tziyon, mixed chorus, 1978

N'Ilah Fragment, soprano, mixed chorus, 1979

Sayings of the Father, mixed chorus, piano, 1979

Sing Praises (text from Psalm 100), mixed chorus, 1979

Two Nonsense Songs, mixed chorus, piano, 1979

Two Shelley Songs (text by Percy Bysshe Shelley), mixed chorus, 1980 (each song may be performed separately: To–; The Fugitives)

Hashkivenu, baritone, mixed chorus, 1981

Jacob's Ladder, mixed chorus, organ, 1981

The Twenty-Third Psalm, tenor, mixed chorus, 1981

The Flames of Freedom, mixed chorus, piano, 1982

I Think Continually of Those (text by Sir Stephen Spender), mixed chorus, 1983

My Boy Willie, female chorus, piano, 1983

Never Was a Child So Lovely, female chorus, piano, 1983

The Way They Are, mixed chorus, 1983

Havdalah Service, mixed chorus, piano/organ, 1984

L'Cha dodi, mixed chorus, flute, piano/organ, 1984

Praise Thy Saving Power, male chorus, piano, 1984

To Freedom, mixed chorus, piano/organ, 1984

Psalm 146, mixed chorus, 1985

Rededication, male chorus, French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba, 1985

Twelve Songs of Praise, mixed chorus, organ, 1985

Choose Life (oratorio), mezzo-soprano, tenor, mixed chorus, orchestra, 1986

High Flight, mixed chorus, small orchestra, 1986

A Prayer for Peace, mixed chorus, piano, string orchestra, 1986

'Round the Globe (texts from folksongs), children's chorus/female chorus, piano, 1986

Shir Hamaalot, children's chorus/female chorus, piano, 1986

Farmer's Curst Wife, mixed chorus, 1987

Let Us Rejoice, mixed chorus, handbells, 1987

Ma tovu, cantor, mixed chorus, organ, 1987

To Remember: To Be Remembered (texts by Lionel Johnson, William Shakespeare), mixed chorus, 1987

Stars in the Dust (cantata), soloists, mixed chorus, orchestra, 1988

Any Human to Another (cantata, text by Theodore Roethke), mixed chorus, piano, string orchestra, 1989

Verses from Isaiah, mixed chorus, brass, organ, handbells, 1989

Yamim naraim I–II, mixed chorus, 1990–91

Ever since Babylon (cantata), soloists, mixed chorus, orchestra, 1991

A Prophecy of Peace, mixed chorus, 1992

A Prolific Source of Sorrow, mixed chorus, flute, 1994

Call to Worship, cantor, mixed chorus, organ, 1995

Family Portraits (text by Jimmy Carter), mixed chorus, symphonic band, 1995

Rogues and Lovers (texts from folksongs), mixed chorus, symphonic band, 1995

Five Sephardic Choruses, mixed chorus, piano, 1998

Psalm Trilogy, mixed chorus, 1998

Transfiguration (ecumenical mass), soprano, alto, mixed chorus, French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba, organ, 2000

Awake, Do Not Cast Us off, mixed chorus

The Feast of Lights, mixed chorus, piano/orchestra

The Hanukkah Story, female chorus, piano

How Long, O Lord?, 8 mixed voices, French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba, organ, 3 percussion

How Precious Is Thy Loving Kindness, soprano, mixed chorus

How Sweet the Sound, mixed chorus, piano/organ

A Hymn of Praise, tenor, mixed chorus

I Will Give Thanks unto the Lord, mixed chorus

Judah's Song of Praise, mixed chorus, piano/orchestra

O Lord, Awesome Is Your Name, mixed chorus, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, organ

Praise the Lord, female chorus, piano

Praised by the Lord by Day, mixed chorus

Proclaim God's Greatness, mixed chorus, organ

Psalm 24, mixed chorus, brass

Psalm 40, mixed chorus

Psalm 67, mixed chorus

Psalm 96, mixed chorus

Psalm 100, mixed chorus

A Psalm of Praise, mixed chorus

Set Me as a Seal upon Thy Heart (text from the Song of Solomon), mezzo-soprano, mixed chorus

Song of Exultation, mixed chorus

A Song of Hanukkah, mixed chorus, piano/orchestra

A Song of Welcome, mixed chorus, piano

Spin Dreidel Spin, female chorus, piano

The Steps to Wisdom, 4 equal voices

Two Psalm Motets, mixed chorus

Two Songs of Hope, male chorus

Who Can Retell?, female chorus, piano

Wisdom Cometh with the Years, mixed chorus, orchestra

Yism'chu, mixed chorus

Yom Hashabbat, mixed chorus, flute, cello


Three Songs about Nature (text by James Stephens), soprano, piano, 1950

Three Songs about Love (text from sources in Old English), high voice, piano, 1953

Three Songs about the Times of Man, medium voice, piano, 1954

In Thine Own Image (text by Fania Kruger), medium voice, piano, 1955

Miscellany (serenade), mezzo-soprano, English horn, string quartet, 1956

Two Songs from the Portuguese, mezzo-soprano, piano, 1956

Two Sacred Songs: A Woman of Valor, soprano/mezzo-soprano, organ, 1962

Two Songs for Three Years (texts by Ruth Whitman, Ogden Nash), baritone, piano, 1964

I Will Betroth Thee unto Me, soprano, organ, 1965

Wish for a Young Wife (song-cycle, text by Theodore Roethke), tenor, piano, 1966

Canto V (text by Hyam Plutzik), soprano, flute, cello, 3 percussion, 1968

Cupid Is (text by Delmore Schwartz), bass-baritone, piano, 1968

Lament, baritone, small orchestra, 1968

Songs with Winds, soprano, flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon, 1969

Dabair eylai attah – Speak Thou to Me (text by Yehuda Amichai), soprano, piano/organ, 1970

Thou, mezzo-soprano, flute, 1972

Bar Mitzvah, medium voice, organ, 1974

My God, I Believe in You So Much, medium voice, organ, 1974

The Passionate Sword (texts by Jean Starr Untermeyer, Louis Untermeyer), baritone, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, percussion, 1974

Nuptial Scene (text from a 15th-century poem on marriage in Catalan–Hebrew), mezzo-soprano, flute, oboe, bass clarinet, violin, viola, cello, celesta, percussion, 1975

String Quartet No. 6 (text by Walt Whitman), mezzo-soprano/baritone, string quartet, 1975

Symphony No. 5, 'We Are the Echoes' (texts by Cyrus Adler, A. J. Heschel, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Muriel Rukeyser, Karl Wolfskehl), mezzo-soprano, large orchestra, 1975

Of Saints and Sinners (texts by Irving Feldman, the Bible, Walter Kaufmann, Robert Mezey, Charles Reznikoff), medium voice, piano, 1976

Of Musique, Poetrie, Nature, and Love (text by Robert Herrick), mezzo-soprano, flute, piano, 1978

Ask Me, mezzo-soprano, ensemble, 1979

Snow Tracks (texts by poets from the USA), high voice, symphonic band, 1981

The Rocking Horse Winner, soprano, oboe, cello, piano, 1984

Many Times, high voice, piano, 1984

Unholy Sonnets (text by John Donne), tenor, piano, 1985

Two Traditional Japanese Songs, soprano, piano, 1985

Three Psalms, medium voice, organ, 1987

Just So, high voice, piano, 1988

Love Song (text by Rainer Maria Rilke), soprano, oboe, 1989

Domestic Tranquillity, soprano, oboe, piano, 1992

Reconciliation, soprano, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, 1992

Primavera amarilla (text by Juan Ramón Jiménez), mezzo-soprano, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, 1993

Time in Tempest Everywhere (text by W. H. Auden), soprano, oboe, piano, small orchestra, 1993

May and Moritz, speaker, orchestra, 1997

Those Were the Days (text by Donald Justice), soprano, piano, 2000

The Challenge of the Muse (text by Yehuda Alharizi), soprano, tenor, orchestra, 2003


Capriccio, 1954

Sonata breve, 1963

Canto VIII, 1973

Gradus, Books I–III, 1979

Sonatina, 1979

Thy Song Expands My Spirit, 1980

The Sense of Touch, 1981

Duo Sonata, 2 pianos, 1983

The Road to Terpsichore: A Suite of Dances, 1988

Rushing Waters (toccata), 1999

Four Portraits, 2002


Two Meditations, 1955, revised 1964

Toccata, Recitation and Postlude, 1959

The Feast of Weeks, 1962

The Lord of All, 1962

Welcoming the Sabbath, 1963

Reflection, 1979

Fantasia on the Name Craighead, 1980

Wind Songs, 1982

Hymnset, 1983

Epistrophe (sonata), 1990

Festive Proclamations, 1995


Sonata, 1982

Bridges to Span Diversity, 1989