American composer, cellist and arranger Alan Shulman was born in Baltimore, June 4, 1915.

Shulman’s early studies were with Bart Wirtz (cello) and Louis Cheslock (harmony) at the Peabody Conservatory.

In 1928 the family moved to Brooklyn where Alan played in the National Orchestral Association under Leon Barzin. He received a New York Philharmonic Scholarship, studying cello with Joseph Emonts and harmony with Winthrop Sargent.

He joined Local 802, America Federation of Musicians in 1931. From 1932-37 he attended the Juilliard School where he was a fellowship student, studying cello with Felix Salmond and composition with Bernard Wagenaar.

While still a student, he composed music for the American Children’s Theatre production of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Chinese Nightingale (1934) and played in the Broadway pit of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes. He continued his cello studies with Emanuel Feuermann (1939) and composition with Paul Hindemith (1942).

Shulman was cellist of the Kreiner String Quartet (1935-38). In 1938, with his brother, violinist Sylvan Shulman, he co-founded the Stuyvesant String Quartet which during the 1940s and 1950s were noted for their performances and recordings of contemporary quartets of Bloch, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Malipiero, Hindemith and Kreisler, among others. In 1941 they played the American premiere of the Shostakovich Piano Quintet at Carnegie Hall and recorded it for Columbia Records.

The Shulman brothers’ swing septet The New Friends of Rhythm recorded with Buster Bailey for Victor before the war (Hep 1086), and with Maxine Sullivan for International Records after. (Baldwin Street Music BJH-303).

Alan Shulman was a charter member of the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini in 1937-42, serving in the U.S. Maritime Service 1942-45, and rejoining NBC Symphony from 1948-54.

During the 1930s and 1940s he was also active as an arranger for Leo Reisman, Andre Kostalanetz, Arthur Fiedler and Wilfred Pelletier‘s Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air.

While in the Maritime Service, he taught orchestration to Nelson Riddle who went on to make celebrated arrangements for Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat “King” Cole.

Shulman’s first successful composition was Theme and Variations for Viola and Orchestra which received its premiere over NBC in 1941 with Emanuel Vardi (Bridge 9119) as soloist. Theme & Variations has been recorded by Yizhak Schotten (Crystal CD 635), Cathy Basrak (Cedille 90000 053), Joseph DePasquale (Albany/Troy 715) and Robert Glazer (Centaur 2755). Chicago Symphony principal Milton Preves played the work often, and it is in the repertoire of most American viola soloists.

His Suite on American Folk Songs was premiered at Carnegie Hall in 1944 by violinist Eudice Shapiro with pianist Vivian Rivkin.

Jascha Heifetz performed and recorded “Cod Liver ‘Ile” from the Suite (Heifetz Collection, Vol.35).

Shulman’s Pastorale and Dance was first played by Sylvan Shulman over ABC in 1944 and was performed by Oscar Shumsky with the Baltimore Symphony in 1947.

Between 1945-47 Shulman arranged five cross-over albums for soprano Risë Stevens for Columbia Records (Sony CCM-067-2).

He joined ASCAP in 1948.

He wrote music for children’s records (James Thurber’s Many Moons – Columbia), for radio and for motion pictures, including the RKO feature The Tattooed Stranger.

Waltzes for Orchestra received its premiere by the NBC Symphony with Milton Katims conducting October 15, 1949 on a Carnegie Hall network broadcast (Bridge 9119).

His Threnody (for the fallen soldiers of Israel) was premiered by the NBC String Quartet during Jewish Music Week in February, 1950.

His Rendezvous, written for Benny Goodman (Bridge 9137), was recorded by Artie Shaw with the New Music Quartet for Columbia (Hep 78) and by Richard Stoltzman with Tashi for RCA/BMG (7901-2-RC) in 1989. Al Gallodoro‘s 1946 NBC Symphony performance is included on Bridge 9119.

Leonard Rose premiered Shulman’s Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra with the New York Philharmonic under Dimitri Mitropoulos in 1950.

Guido Cantelli conducted the premiere of Shulman’s A Laurentian Overture with the Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall in 1952. The Overture was dedicated to Tallulah Bankhead. Olin Downes in the New York Times called it “boldly and mischievously made.”

In 1946 Shulman married pianist Sophie Pratt Bostelmann (1916-1982). They had four children.

Alan Shulman was a founder of the Symphony of the Air (1954), and the Violoncello Society (1956). He was the Society’s President 1967-72.

His Suite Miniature for Octet of Celli was written in 1956 for the Fine Arts Cello Ensemble of Los Angeles.

In the 1950s, Shulman wrote popular songs with entertainer Steve Allen and arranged for Skitch Henderson, Raoul Poliakin and Felix Slatkin.

During the 1960s and 70s, Shulman was busy in the recording and television studios, and composed teaching material and works for band including 3 Faces of Glen Cove, Interstate 90, The Corn Shuckers and Mazatlan, and arranged for singer-songwriter Cris Williamson‘s debut recording on Ampex Records.

He was cellist of the Philharmonia Trio (1962-69) (CRI), the Vardi Trio (MMO), An Die Musik (1976-7) of the Haydn Quartet (1972-82).
Shulman taught cello at Sarah Lawrence College, Juilliard, SUNY-Purchase, Johnson State College (VT) and the University of Maine.

In the 1980s his health declined and he retired in 1987.

He was made a Chevalier du Violoncelle by the Eva Janzer Cello Center at Indiana University in 1997.

Alan Shulman died July 10, 2002 at a nursing home in Hudson, New York.

He is survived by his sons Jay Shulman, a cellist, and Marc Shulman, a guitarist; and daughters Laurie Shulman, a program annotator and author, and Lisa Shulman.

Alan Shulman’s works are published by Chappell/Warner, Sam Fox, MCA/Leeds, Mills Music, and Bregman, Vocco & Conn (EAM), Shawnee Press and Weintraub Music (G. Schirmer), and Tetra/Masters Music and are available through Alfred and Wise Music Classical and music retailers Shar, J.W. Pepper, Hal Leonard, Sheet Music Plus or Johnson Strings.