Building Bridges With Music

Building Bridges With Music

Stories from a Composer's Life

Samuel Adler


Pendragon Press



The memoir of a composer, conductor, teacher, author and administrator both in America and abroad, Samuel Adler.
"After over sixty years of teaching and finally retiring for the third time in May of 2016, I felt the urge to write down the many stories I have experienced during my long life. This book covers occurrences from my early childhood in Nazi Germany, emigrating to the United States at age ten, my education on the high school and college levels, my years in the army (an education, to be sure, albeit of a different kind), as well as the many professional experiences as a composer, conductor, teacher, author and administrator both in America and abroad. I have tried to relate the many encounters with some of the most important personalities in the world of music, the other arts, academia, religion, and even politics. My life has been blessed with a most supportive family, many good friends, and a host of students who have made my teaching years rewarding and colorful. Building Bridges with Music seems to have been part of my destiny and I have embraced this enthusiastically whenever the opportunity presented itself. I invite you to have this experience with me through this book." --Samuel Adler

An e-book version of this title is available (9781576472682), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.


300 pages
American Music and Musicians
Hardback, 9781576473030, July 2017
eBook, 9781576472682, July 2017
Pendragon Press
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Table of Contents

Part 1: Beginnings
Childhood in Mannheim
Waiting in New York City
Gorwing Up in Worcester, Massachusetts
Part 2: Formative Experiences
Harvard Years and Tanglewood Summers
"You're in the Army Now!"
Part 3: Texas
Dallas Beckons
Between Temple, Theatre, and Colony
Opportunities and Challenges
Marriage and Family
Last Years in Texas
Part 4: Rochester, New York
First Years in Rochester
Crisis and Resolution
A New Era at Eastman
Vienna-At Home Abroad
Three Books
Years of Expansion, Challenge, and Change
Part 5: Fin de Siècle and New Millennium
New Beginnings
Juilliard and Beyond


Charts [Samuel Adler's] long life in this inspirational and lavishly produced book replete with charming anecdotal stories and many interesting photographs. STRINGENDO, AUSTA NATIONAL JOURNAL

Adler's storytelling takes you straight to the heart of significant scenes from his remarkable life. Destiny, talent, passion, zeal and a touch of "workaholism" have placed Adler in key positions to witness events shaping America's 20th and 21st-century musical history. His keen observance and amazing memory make this an extremely thorough account of modern musical life -- at the top of the heap. This transcends other memoirs by the normity of its scope and the intimacy of its details. . . . Such even-handed and honest storytelling of a life so rich offers contemporary commentary with the benefit of hindsight. AMERICAN MUSIC TEACHER

[C]oncise, compelling, and down-to-earth. . . . an engaging read. NEW MUSIC CONNOISSEUR

Told with the same honesty and passion [Adler] brings to his teaching, this volume is both entertaining and instructive, and sure to be an important primary source about American's new music scene in the America of the 20th and early 21st centuries. JUILLIARD JOURNAL [Evan Fein]

[A] fascinating book for anyone who has any interest in history or humanity. . . . [E]xtremely well-written. . . . Though his music is well-documented here and his philosophy of composing explained, I can imagine someone enjoying this book who had no interest in music whatsoever. . . . For his part, the composer concludes at the end of his lavishly illustrated book that his life has been ruled by the Jewish concept of tikkun olam -- healing or repairing the world so that by our life's work we would leave the world a better place than when we depart from it. Nobody who reads very far in Building Bridges will doubt for a moment that this is exactly what Samuel Adler has done. SPECIAL TO THE BLADE