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Samuel Barber

Date of birth : 1910-03-09
Date of death : 1981-01-23
Birthplace : West Chester, Pennsylvania, United States
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-08-18

Samuel Osborne Barber II , born March 9, 1910 – died January 23, 1981 was an American composer of orchestral, opera, choral, and piano music. His Adagio for Strings is his most popular composition and widely considered a masterpiece of modern classical music. He was twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize for music, for his opera Vanessa and his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra. His Knoxville: Summer of 1915, a work for soprano and orchestra, was an acclaimed setting of prose by James Agee.

"Sidelights"

One of America's most distinguished composers, Samuel Barber began studying piano at the age of six; at seven he wrote his first piano composition, and by twenty-one he was acclaimed for his first orchestral piece, "Overture to the School for Scandal." He won two Pulitzer Prizes, the first in 1958 for his opera "Vanessa" and the second in 1963 for his "First Piano Concerto." In addition, Barber was awarded a Pulitzer traveling scholarship, the Prix de Rome of the American Academy, a Guggenheim fellowship, and an honorary doctorate in music from Harvard University. Virtually all of Barber's works have been recorded. They include, "Adagio for Strings," "Second Essay," "Souvenir," "Capricorn Concerto," "Andromaches' Farewell," and "Despite and Still."

PERSONAL INFORMATION

Family: Born March 9, 1910, in West Chester, PA; died of cancer, January 23, 1981, in New York, NY; son of Samuel Leroy and Marguerite McLeod Beatty Barber. Education: Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, Bachelor of Music, 1934; Harvard University, honorary doctorate, 1959. Memberships: National Institute of Arts and Letters; American Academy of Arts and Letters.

AWARDS

Two Joseph H. Bearns Prizes from Columbia University, 1929, 1933; Pulitzer traveling scholarship, 1935-36; the Prix de Rome of the American Academy, 1935; three Guggenheim fellowships, 1945, 1947, 1949; the Music Critics Circle Award; the Henry Hadley Medal of the National Association for American Composers and conductors, 1958; honorary doctorate from Harvard University, 1959; recipient of two Pultizer Prizes, 1958, 1963.

CAREER
Composer and pianist. Military service: Served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

WRITINGS BY THE AUTHOR:
OPERA


* Vanessa: An Opera in 4 Acts, (Chicago, IL), 1957.

* Antony and Cleopatra: An Opera in 3 Acts, G. Schirmer (New York, NY), 1966.

Also author of other orchestral musical compositions, including "Overature to the School for Scandal," "First Piano Concerto," "Adagio for Strings," "Second Essay," "Despite and Still," "Souvenir," "Andromaches' Farewell," and "Capricorn Concerto."


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