The National Park Trust has created the Richard Adler Fund as a vehicle for encouraging students to create art, music and poetry inspired by the national parks. The man the fund honors has been a very special friend of the national parks and the National Park Trust.
Richard Adler established his credentials as a talented lyricist and Broadway composer/writer/producer in the early 1950s. Teaming up with Jerry Ross, he co-wrote Tony Bennett's smash hit Rags to Riches (1953), co-authored the music and lyrics for three successful Broadway productions in rapid succession (including The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees, both of which won Tony Awards), and saw a half-dozen of the songs that he helped create become top ten hits in the United States. After the tragic death of his partner in 1955 -- Ross died at age 29 in the flower of his life -- Adler continued on his creative path. Demonstrating his versatility, he created or co-created works as widely diversified as symphonies, ballets, TV musicals, and commercials.
You've enjoyed Richard Adler's work if you've ever listened to Archie Bleyer's Hernando's Hideaway, Patti Page's Steam Heat, Rosemary Clooney's Hey There, Eddie Fisher's (You've Gotta Have) Heart, Sarah Vaugn's Whatever Lola Wants, or Doris Day's Everybody Loves a Lover. Recordings of these Adler hits have sold more than three million copies. Visit this site for audio clips of several Adler hit songs.
Over the years, Adler received three Tony Awards, an Emmy Award, four Pultizer nominations (for symphonic works), two Donaldson Awards, two Variety Critics Awards, an Honorary Doctorate in Music and Theater (Wagner College), induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (1984), and various other awards and accolades.
Among Adler's most cherished awards is the National Park Service Honorary Park Ranger Award that he received in recognition of his important contributions to America's national parks. The award was richly deserved. Adler, who has had a lifelong interest in America's National Park System, has performed many valuable services in behalf of the parks and the National Park Trust.
Two of these contributions stand out for the fact that they were Pulitzer Prize-nominated musical works. In the early 1980s, the Interior Department commissioned Adler to create a musical score inspired by his trips to national parks. The resulting production, Wilderness Suite, premiered in February 1983 and was warmly greeted by audiences throughout America and in Europe. Adler was also commissioned by the Statue of Liberty Ellis Island Foundation to compose a Statue of Liberty tribute for the July 1986 celebration of the iconic statue's centenary and restoration. A quarter-century later, this work, The Lady Remembers, The Statue of Liberty Suite, continues to entertain and inspire us.
These were not the only Adler works inspired by national parks. He also composed the Yellowstone Overture, a symphony that premiered in November 1980 with an American Philharmonic Orchestra performance at Carnegie Hall.
Additional details about Richard Adler's career can be found at this Songwriters Hall of Fame site. or in Adler's autobiography You Gotta Have Heart (Donald I. Fine, 1990).
Adler celebrated his 90th birthday on August 3rd. To honor him on this milestone occasion, the National Park Trust held a reception on July 31and announced the creation of a special fund named after him. NPT's new Richard Adler Fund will be used to encourage students to create music, art, dance, and poetry inspired by our nation's treasured parks. Adler's wife Susan observed that "through the fund, generations of children will now be able to experience the same joy and wonder Richard and I feel when exploring our country's parklands."
To support or learn more about the Richard Adler Fund, contact Shana Newman Fajardo at 301-279-7275 x15.