Ezra Laderman ranks among the leading American composers of his time. Born in Brooklyn in 1924, he was educated at the High School of Music and Art, Brooklyn College, and Columbia University; his teachers included Stefan Wolpe, Miriam Gideon, Otto Luening, and Douglas Moore. Service in the U.S. Army during World War II interrupted his formal education, but not his compositional career; after participating in the liberation of Leipzig, he wrote a symphony inspired by the experience.
Laderman was a prolific composer in a range of genres; he produced numerous symphonies, concertos, and chamber works, and he created operas based on characters as varied as Galileo Galilei and Marilyn Monroe. His music has been performed by many leading ensembles and soloists, including the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, Elmar Oliveira, and Jean-Pierre Rampal. His musical career spanned several eras; he began composing as a boy in the 1930s, and he continued nearly until his death in 2015.
Laderman was an educator and administrator as well as a composer. He taught at several institutions, most notably the Yale School of Music, where he served as Dean and as Professor of Composition. He was Chairman of Music Programs at the National Endowment for the Arts, and President of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Music Center, and the National Music Council.
Our exhibit draws upon the Ezra Laderman Papers at the Gilmore Music Library, as well as items lent to us by his widow, Dr. Aimlee Laderman. It is being held in conjunction with a memorial concert at the Yale School of Music on March 2.
--Richard Boursy, Archivist