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Adam, Adolphe
Adolphe Adam
July 24, 1803 – May 3, 1856

French composer Adolphe Adam began his career composing ballet, opera, and vocal music despite the advice of his father, a pianist and teacher. Adam studied in secret under the guidance of popular composer Ferdinand Herold. Eventually seeing his potential, his father permitted Adam to enroll in the Paris Conservatoire at age 17.

He was taught by professors and composers Francois Boieldieu and Antonin Reicha, who guided Adam through the beginnings of his composing career. Adam studied organ, harmonium, and triangle.

At the age of 20, and with the encouragement of Boieldieu, Adam began writing comic operas that were performed in Parisian vaudeville houses and at the Gymnaise Dramatique. The productions became an immense success.

Adam used his popularity and influence to open the Opera-National, however his success collapsed with the arrival of the French Revolution. He fell deeply in debt, and struggled the rest of his life paying down his debt by selling compositions before finally dying debt-free in Paris, 1856.

Adam’s notable works include the ballets Giselle, and Le corsaire, as well as his operas Le postillon de Lonjumeau, Le toreador, and Si j’etais roi. He is also known for writing O Holy Night, a version of his piece Minuit, cretiens! set with English lyrics.

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