Henry Hadley

Henry Hadley

1871 - 1937

An important advocate for American musicians and composers during his lifetime, Hadley was a prolific composer of art song.

Photo: Henry Hadley, 1916, Photo by Arnold Genthe, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division


Born in Somerville, Massachusetts, Henry Kimball Hadley grew up in a musical family. His father was his first teacher of conducting, violin, and piano, and Hadley also studied composition with George Chadwick, who was an important influence and mentor for him. After further studies in Vienna and Munich, he taught in New York and became well known as a conductor in both the United States and Europe.

Hadley was an important advocate of American music throughout his life. He founded the National Association for American Composers and Conductors in 1933. Through this organization, the Henry Hadley Memorial Library was endowed, now housed at the New York Public Library. in 1934, he founded the Berkshire Music Festival.

While Hadley is best known today as a conductor and music advocate, his compositions were popular during his lifetime. His opera Cleopatra's Night was premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 1920. Hadley was also "commissioned by the Vitaphone Company to compose and conduct what may have been ‘the first musical score to be recorded and played in synchronism with an entire motion picture’ (Canfield) for When a Man Loves (released November 1926)."

His more than 200 art songs are romantic and sentimental in style.

Today, the Henry Hadley Foundation provides financial support for American composers.

--Christie Finn Source: Richard Jackson's article in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians

Audio PLaylist

CD / DVD / MP3