H. Leslie Adams (b. 1932) is one of the leading (African) American composers in the world. His unique music touches a wide variety of musical tastes and preferences. Adams was born in Cleveland, Ohio, went to school in California, and served many years as a choral conductor, show musical director, and educator, before becoming a full time composer in 1979. His stagework BLAKE was featured on the VOX Showcase of New York City Opera, and on the National Opera Association programs. His art songs have been sung by leading artists worldwide, in many languages. His orchestral works have been performed by the Prague Radio Symphony, Iceland Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra and Indianapolis Symphony, to name a few.
Two all-Adams CDs, have become especially popular. "Love Rejoices: Songs
of H. Leslie Adams" first released in January, 2001, features the internationally-known tenor, Darryl
was chosen as one of the ten best recordings of the year by American
Guide, and is now in its second printing. Love Rejoices is a 75-minute all-Adams recital featuring the
artistry of Tenor, Darryl Taylor, with accompanist Robin Guy. The disc features the
complete song cycle, "Nightsongs" and "The Wider View" along
with excerpts from "Five Millay Songs" and many individual songs,
including the composer's original setting of "Amazing Grace."
Adams's "Twenty-six Etudes for
Piano" was recorded (12 of the Etudes) by the brilliant pianist, Maria
"Nightsongs" a collection of songs on poetry by
African-American poets, is one of ACA's most popular sheet music
collections, year after year. Many critics have observed that they find no other composer writing like Adams in the world. They find it simple yet complex, fun yet serious, spiritual yet nonreligious. Above all, his music touches the heart and soul in a personal manner.
(L-R) Anthony Davis, Richard Thompson, Adolphus Hailstork, H. Leslie Adams and Robert Owens.: African American Art Song Conference, UC Irvine, 2012
Links to purchase recordings below:
"Love Rejoices: Songs of H. Leslie Adams" [2nd ed.;
Darryl Taylor, tenor]
"Twelve Etudes" [Maria