Tuesday, December 30, 2014

African American Composer, Pianist & Professor H. Leslie Adams, Whose Works Are Often Performed & Recorded, Was Born Dec. 30, 1932 in Cleveland

On December 27, 2014 AfriClassical posted: 

Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma, http://www.CasaMusicaledeLerma.com, writes: "Today is Leslie Adams's birthday."

H. (Harrison) Leslie Adams is an African American composer, pianist and professor who was born in Cleveland, Ohio on December 30, 1932.  His website  is http://www.hleslieadams.com

Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma has specialized in African heritage in classical music for four decades, and has kindly made his research file on the composer available to this website.

We learn from Prof. De Lerma that H. Leslie Adams was a student of both piano and voice before finishing high school: "
A native of Cleveland, Harrison Leslie Adams began private piano study with Dorothy Smith and Mina Eichenbaum and voice with John Howard Tucker.  Following graduation from Glenville High School he enrolled at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (B.M, 1955), studying composition with Herbert Elwell and Joseph Wood, voice with Robert Fountain, and piano with Emil Dannenberg. He studied composition privately with Robert Starer (1950) and Vittorio Giannini (1960) before attending California State University-Long Beach (M.M., composition and choral music, 1967) where his composition teachers were Leon Dallin and Robert Tyndall. He entered Ohio State University in 1968 and secured his Ph.D. in music education in 1973, a student of Marshall Barnes. Subsequent study of orchestration was guided by Edward Mattilla, Eugene O’Brien, and Marcel Dick (1978-1983)."

Adams went directly from high school to Oberlin Conservatory, Prof. De Lerma writes, eventually earning Bachelor's and Masters degrees in Music and a Ph.D. in Music Education.  Prof. De Lerma explains that Adams was a choral director at Stillman College in Alabama, and went on to hold a variety of positions as a pianist, music director and composer.

For many years, AfriClassical has frequently reported on premieres and other performances of both vocal and instrumental works of H. Leslie Adams.  His opera Blake is another highlight of the composer's career.

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