Samuel Barber

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Related to Samuel Barber: Gian Carlo Menotti

Barber, Samuel,

1910–81, American composer, b. West Chester, Pa. Barber studied at the Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia. His music is lyrical and generally tonal; his later works are more chromatic and polytonal with striking contrapuntal elements. Among his outstanding works are a setting of Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach" for voice and string quartet (1931); an overture to The School for Scandal (1931); Adagio for Strings (1936); two symphonies (1936, 1944); Capricorn Concerto for flute, oboe, and trumpet (1944) and a piano concerto (1962; Pulitzer Prize); a ballet, Medea (1946); Knoxville: Summer of 1915, for soprano and orchestra (1947), derived from a segment of James Agee's novel A Death in the Family; a modern oratorio, Prayers of Kierkegaard (1954); and two operas, Vanessa (1957; Pulitzer Prize) and Antony and Cleopatra (1966), commissioned to open the new Metropolitan Opera House.


See biography by N. Broder (1954).

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Barber, Samuel

(1910–81) composer; born in West Chester, Pa. From a musical family, Barber decided on his career in childhood and attended the Curtis Institute of Music from 1924–34. There he wrote the orchestral works The School for Scandal and Music for a Scene from Shelly, which gained him attention in America and Europe. His Adagio for Strings, premiered by Toscanini in 1938, was an immediate hit and remains his best-known score. In the late 1930s Barber joined the Curtis faculty; he left teaching and served in the military from 1942. After the war he settled into a house in Mt. Kisco, N.Y., with composer Gian-Carlo Menotti, who wrote the libretto to Barber's opera Vanessa (1958). His music, long popular with listeners, is marked by a classical clarity often joined to a late-Romantic wistfulness; later work, such as the Piano Concerto (a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1963) uses more modernistic techniques without giving up Barber's basic expressiveness. Antony and Cleopatra, written for the opening of the new Metropolitan Opera in 1966, was a celebrated failure, although later productions of a revised version fared better.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
The accompanying CD contains 18 pieces, including works by Stephen Foster, Amy Beach, John Philip Sousa, Scott Joplin, George Gershwin, Samuel Barber, John Cage, Leonard Bernstein, and Philip Glass.
Take Samuel Barber's little Adagio for Strings, for instance.
Illustrated throughout with some one hundred black/white photographs, "Star-Up At The New Met" covers all 140 performances that took place from the debut performance of Samuel Barber's 'Antony and Cleopatra' on September 16, 1966, through the final season of 1976.
9 MARTHA GRAHAM DANCE COMPANY, CAVE OF THE HEART (SUMMERSCAPE, BARD COLLEGE, ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY) With breathtaking set design by Isamu Noguchi and music by Samuel Barber, this July performance represented a powerful collaborative vision.
Benjamin Britten and Samuel Barber are two giants of 20th century classical music, both men are celebrities who came of age during war times.
18: Leontyne Price and Samuel Barber in Recital (Bridge).
Souvenirs, made a year earlier, to a score for one piano, four hands, by Samuel Barber, is at the opposite end of the spectrum, a comic story ballet with six scenes and lots of highly detailed choreography.
The show's repertoire includes the Shaker Hymn, Ravel's Bolero and a work by Samuel Barber. The numbers focus on either brass, percussion or ensemble-style movement (and often all three).
James Agee wrote about a porch in A Death in the Family (Samuel Barber set his words to music in "Knoxville: Summer of 1915"), and who can forget Faulkner's Greek chorus of neighborhood men, sitting on the Bundrens' porch in As I Lay Dying?
Menotti himself wrote the libretti for all his operas, which have been notable for their unusual theatrical effectiveness as well as their music, and also wrote the libretto for Samuel Barber's opera Vanessa.
At First Congregational church Ramirez will play selections from Bach, the French composer Jehan Alain, Samuel Barber Maurice Darufl and his own composition, iViva Viva Jess Mi Amor!