H. Leslie Adams (b. 1932) is the winner of the 2015 Cleveland Arts Prize Lifetime Achievement Award. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, he attended school in California, and served many years as a choral conductor, show musical director, and educator, before becoming a composer full time in 1979. His unique music touches a wide variety of musical tastes and preferences. His stage work 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.
Recordings of Adams' music include "Love Rejoices: Songs of H. Leslie Adams" first released in January, 2001, featuring the internationally-known tenor, Darryl Taylor. It was chosen as one of the ten best recordings of the year by American Record Guide, and is now in its second printing. Love Rejoices is a 75-minute all-Adams recital featuring the artistry of Mr. Taylor and accompanist Robin Guy. The album 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' very popular "Etudes for Piano" have been recorded by pianists including Maria Corley and Thomas Otten.
"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.
In addition to the Cleveland Arts Prize, Mr. Adams has been awarded by the Bascom Little Foundation. He was commissioned by the Mirror Visions Ensemble in 2019.
Links to recordings below:
***Notice: Any recordings of songs or vocal music by H. Leslie Adams may require licensing and clearances from all legal rightsholders, including text authors and their estates. Purchase of a score does not transfer recording rights.
ACA Composer Composition
|H. Leslie Adams||HYMN TO FREEDOM (Sop, Ten, BBar solo, plus 10 players)||Soprano, Tenor, and Bass-Baritone soloists, and chamber ensemble
Sop, Ten, BassBar; Woodwind (1 player: picc or flute, cl, bscl, Ebaltosax), Bb trumpet, trombone, tuba (optional euph, bass tbn, or db), perc(1), piano, v1, v2, va, vc, (opt)db
|H. Leslie Adams||HYMN TO FREEDOM STB choir a cappella||-
|H. Leslie Adams||MADRIGAL||-
|H. Leslie Adams||DUNBAR SONGS - orchestrated version||High voice, fl, ob, clar, bsn, hn (2); timp; perc; harp; strings