Martin Mailman (1932–2000) was Composer in Residence and Regents Professor of Music at the University of North Texas, Denton, Texas. A composition student of Louis Mennini, Wayne Barlow, Bernard Rogers, and Howard Hanson, he received his BM, MM, and PhD degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York. He was among the first of contemporary American composers chosen in 1959 to participate in The Young Composers Project sponsored by the Ford Foundation and the National Music Council.
Mailman received numerous awards, among which include two American Bandmasters Association/Ostwald prizes for composition, the National Band Association/Band Mans Company prize for composition, the Edward Benjamin Award, Composer of the Year by the Texas Music Teachers Association, and the 1982 Queen Marie-Jose Prize for composition. His works include chamber music, band, choral, and orchestral music, film scores, television music, an opera, and a requiem for chorus, orchestra, and soloist. A frequently sought-after clinician and teacher, Mailman served as guest conductor-composer at more than ninety colleges and universities across the United States and Europe. In November 2000, the UNT Board of Regents awarded Emeritus status to Mailman posthumously.
Exaltations was commissioned in 1981 by the Manatee High School band of Bradenton, Florida, conducted by Howard Lerner, and was premiered in May 1982. The piece later won the ABA/Ostwald Award in 1983, and was performed at the American Bandmasters Association convention in Kansas City, Missouri, by the United States Air Force Band, Colonel Arnald D. Gabriel conducting.
For Precious Friends Hid in Death's Dateless Night was premiered in 1988 by the University of North Texas Wind Ensemble, conducted by Robert Winslow. The work was the first to be awarded both the National Band Association/Band Mans Company Prize for composition and the ABA Ostwald Prize. With the exception of the second movement, the titles of the piece and the remaining movements are taken directly from lines of Shakespeare's sonnets.