James Adler is a pianist who “can create whatever type of music he wants at the keyboard” (Chicago Sun-Times) and a composer who writes “with uncommon imagination” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution). The Curtis Institute of Music commissioned a new work from Mr. Adler as part of their Centenary Commissioning Initiative “100×100.” He presents the world premiere of A Curtis Reflection for piano solo in recital at the Yamaha Artist Services Studio NY in November; this will be broadcast at Curtis during their Centenary Celebrations in 2024. In April, he appears in recital on the Arts on Bergen midday concert series at Saint Peter’s University. 

Mr. Adler receives praise for his newest recording from Albany records, That Star in the Picture, featuring his theater and art songs. Luciano Feliciani (Kathodik) calls this “a disc of great value, to be savored slowly,” while Judith Clurman (Conductor, Essential Voices USA) notes that “James Adler writes beautiful melodies.” This “exquisite” (David DeBoor Canfield, Fanfare), “lovely collection of lighter songs” (Henry Fogel, Fanfare) features performances by cabaret artists Shana Farr and Michael Buchanan; Broadway performer Kennedy Kanagawa; Perry Sook and Elizaveta Ulakhovich; and Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Victoria Livengood in a new chamber version of Mr. Adler’s Pie Jesu from Memento mori: An AIDS Requiem.

Mr. Adler is honored to serve on the Sound Espressivo Advisory Board. Sound Espressivo – Virtual Classical/Jazz music is known for the competitions and events it hosts. In 2023-2024, performers will compete for in-person concerto appearances at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, as well as with other orchestras throughout the world. The “James Adler Audience Favorite Award” is presented during the Laureates Gala, and Mr. Adler, a known interpreter of Rachmaninoff’s music, serves as a judge for a special competition celebrating the life and music of Sergei Rachmaninoff.

After winning the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Award, Mr. Adler made his orchestral performing debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Orchestra Hall. He has appeared in places as varied as Chicago’s Grant Park and Ravinia Festival; London’s Royal Albert Hall (broadcast by the BBC) and Wigmore Hall; the Dimitria Festival in Thessaloniki, Greece; and New York’s Alice Tully Hall, Symphony Space, and Paramount Theatre at Madison Square Garden.

His extensive list of compositions is headed by Memento mori: An AIDS Requiem. Recorded by AmorArtis Chorale and Orchestra, and published by Alfred Music, Memento mori features a “range of expression [that] is expansive” and is “a unique, well-crafted, emotionally rich piece” (American Record Guide). His catalog includes numerous works for chorus, chamber works for vocalists and instrumentalists, and works for symphonic band and for orchestra. They have been performed worldwide: from Christchurch, New Zealand, to Tallinn, Estonia; New York City to San Francisco; at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the United Nations, and at the Statue of Liberty 200th anniversary celebration.

A musician who is greatly interested in new works, Mr. Adler has had the privilege of premiering compositions written for him by Paul Turok, Henco Espag, Kevin Cummines, Abdulaziz Shabakouh, and Seth Bedford. He has also written works commissioned by the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus, the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, the piano duo of LeDuc and Engel, oboist Ian Shafer, baritone Malcolm Merriweather, Central Regional High School (NJ), the Cheektowaga Millenium Youth Chorus, and the Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps symphonic band.

As performer and composer, Mr. Adler can be heard on recordings from Albany Records, Capstone, Navona, and Ravello Records. He is a member of the Arts Department at Saint Peter’s University, a National Arts Associate in the Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity, and was selected in 2018 for membership in the SAI Composer’s Bureau. In 2023, AdlerOaks Music Library joined the Music Publishers Association of the United States. James Adler is a recipient of the 2017 Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award.

Yamaha Piano
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Photo: Frank Gimpaya