Adler, Kurt Herbert
- Martin Bernheimer
(b Vienna, April 2, 1905; d Ross, CA, Feb 9, 1988). American conductor and opera director of Austrian birth. He was educated at the Musikakademie and university in Vienna, and made his début in 1925 as a conductor for the Max Reinhardt theatre, then conducted at the Volksoper and opera houses in Germany, Italy and Czechoslovakia. He assisted Toscanini in Salzburg (1936) and went to the USA in 1938 for an engagement with the Chicago Opera. He worked for the San Francisco Opera from 1943 to 1981, initially as chorus master, then as artistic director in 1953 and general director from 1956. Although he occasionally conducted, most of his time was devoted to administrative duties. During his regime the San Francisco Opera grew increasingly adventurous in repertory, and became noted for the engagement of unproven talent and the implementation of modern staging techniques. By 1972 Adler had lengthened the season from five weeks to ten and he also formed subsidiary organizations in San Francisco to stage experimental works, to perform in schools and other unconventional locales, and to train young singers. He retired in ...