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James Adler

Piano Judge, Board Member

James Adler

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).

This season, Mr. Adler celebrates the return of live music with a noontime recital on November 9 at the Yamaha Artist Services Piano Salon in New York City, featuring Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 21 (Waldstein), and an adaptation of the Horowitz Variations on a Theme from Bizet’s Carmen. He appears in concert with the Queer Urban Orchestra in NYC performing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 on March 12. Additionally, he is a member of the adjudication panel (piano division) of the 2021-2022 Sound Espressivo Global Music Competition.

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 Department of Fine Arts 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. James Adler is a recipient of the 2017 Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award.

Yamaha Piano
Elegy Artist Management (

Photo: Frank Gimpaya

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