Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


School of Music

First Advisor

Scott Price


H. Leslie Adams (b. 1932) is a prolific and well-respected American composer, performer, and educator. He currently works as a full-time composer and travels the country promoting his music. Past faculty appointments of H. Leslie Adams include serving as an Assistant Professor of Music at Stillman College, Florida A & M University, and the University of Kansas. Over the years, he has received numerous commissions, honors, and awards including the Composer Fellowship Award from the National Endowment for the Arts to study in Bellagio, Italy, the Yaddo Artists Colony fellowship, the Jennings Foundation, and grants from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Cleveland Foundation. He has published three sets of works for solo piano – Contrasts for Piano, Three Preludes for Piano, and Twenty-Six Etudes for Solo Piano. The focus of this study is a performance and stylistic analysis of the Twenty-Six Etudes for Solo Piano, Adams’ largest and most important contribution to the solo piano literature. The analysis includes an examination of form, melody, harmony, rhythm, and keyboard usage in each etude. In addition, the study provides biographical information on H. Leslie Adams, an overview of his compositional style, and a transcript of a phone interview. The goal of this study is trifold—to stimulate significant interest in Adams’ works, to provide new information to the musical community, and to facilitate the assimilation of the Twenty-Six Etudes for Solo Piano into the standard repertory of pianists and pedagogues.


© 2015, Aaron Balthazar Mathews