Larry Adler

Lawrence "Larry" Cecil Adler (February 10, 1914 – August 6, 2001) was an American musician, widely acknowledged as one of the world's most skilled harmonica players. Composers such as Ralph Vaughan Williams, Malcolm Arnold, Darius Milhaud and Arthur Benjamin composed works for him. During the later stage of his career he was known for his collaborations with popular musicians Sting, Elton John, Kate Bush, and Cerys Matthews. Adler was born in Baltimore, Maryland, into a Jewish family and graduated from the Baltimore City College high school. Adler taught himself harmonica (which he preferred to call a mouth-organ) and began playing professionally at the age of 14. In 1927, the harmonica was popular enough that the Baltimore Sun newspaper sponsored a contest. His rendering of a Beethoven minuet won him the award, and a year later, he ran away from home to New York. After being referred by Rudy Vallée, Adler got his first theatre work, and caught the attention of orchestra leader Paul Ash, who placed Adler in a vaudeville act as "a ragged urchin, playing for pennies". From there, he was hired by Florenz Ziegfeld and then by Lew Leslie (again as an urchin).


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