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Biography
A native and resident of Cleveland, Ohio, Adams can be likened in his emphasis on vocal music output to great Romantic lieder composers of the nineteenth century, as much for the quality of his song writing as for prodigious output. This is not to say that his writing is lacking in originality. Nothing could be further from the truth. His songs are sung regularly by such artists as Martina Arroyo, Florence Quivar, Veronica Tyler, Mark Doss, Donnie Ray Albert, and many others. They are recorded on Albany Records, Now Records. MSR Classics, and CRS Master Recordings. Still, Adams songs remain largely unknown to many American singers.

Harrison Leslie Adams was born in Cleveland, Ohio, December 30, 1932. He studied music at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. Adams was initially enrolled as a voice student with emphasis on music education. He studied composition with Herbert Elwell and Joseph Wood, graduating from there in 1955. He further studied composition with Robert Starer in 1959 and Vittorio Giannini in 1960. Adams went on to graduate study at California State University at Long Beach, graduating in 1967, working with Leon Dallin. He earned a PhD from Ohio State University in 1973. While at OSU, he studied composition with Marshall Barnes. Rounding out his musical preparation, he studied orchestration with Edward Mattila, Eugene O'Brien, and Marcel Dick, 1978-83.

Currently, H. Leslie Adams works full-time at composition, from his studio in Cleveland, Ohio. He has composed not only for solo voice, but has written successfully for full orchestra, chamber orchestra, ballet, solo instrumental works, several choral works, and an opera, Blake. It is in solo voice composition where he has made a most significant contribution and where one is most struck by his depth of soul. Music lovers from all strata are consistently moved by his lyricism, his connection to text and emotion. Critics have said of his music, “Adams' songs are firmly diatonic, with no suggestion of atonality or excessive chromaticism. They are tuneful, often simple, but just as often they take the most unexpected and delightful harmonic turns. They don't go quite where we think they will, and are all the better for surpassing our expectations. Each is beautiful in an individual way. 'For You There is no Song', one of several settings of Millay immediately enchants us by its sophistication. Neither sound quite like any other composer I know, freeing Adams of cries of ‘derivative'. 'Flying' surprises us with its archaic madrigalisms; 'Amazing Grace' is rhapsodic; 'Lullaby Eternal' is gentle and pretty. They seldom fail to impress. Here is an American song writer who deserves more attention.”
This biography was most recently edited by...
manease - 8 Aug 2013
musicmanofcleveland - 8 Aug 2013
tennorrman - 7 Sep 2009
tennorrman - 7 Sep 2009
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