32 Facts About Samuel Barber


Samuel Osmond Barber II was an American composer, pianist, conductor, baritone, and music educator, and one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century.

FactSnippet No. 766,055

Samuel Barber's works became successful on the international stage and many of his compositions enjoyed rapid adoption into the classical performance canon.

FactSnippet No. 766,056

Samuel Barber received the Pulitzer Prize for Music twice: for his opera Vanessa, and for the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra .

FactSnippet No. 766,057

Samuel Barber was in a relationship with the composer Gian Carlo Menotti for more than 40 years.

FactSnippet No. 766,058

Samuel Barber was born into a comfortable, educated, social, and distinguished American family.

FactSnippet No. 766,059

Samuel Barber's father was a physician; his mother was a pianist of English-Scottish-Irish descent whose family had lived in the United States since the time of the American Revolutionary War.

FactSnippet No. 766,060

Samuel Barber's maternal aunt, Louise Homer, was a leading contralto at the Metropolitan Opera; his uncle, Sidney Homer, was a composer of American art songs.

FactSnippet No. 766,061

At a very early age, Samuel Barber became profoundly interested in music, and it was apparent that he had great musical talent and ability.

FactSnippet No. 766,062

Samuel Barber began studying the piano at the age of six and at age seven composed his first work, Sadness, a 23-measure solo piano piece in C minor.

FactSnippet No. 766,063

However, Samuel Barber was in no way a typical boy, and at the age of nine he wrote to his mother:.

FactSnippet No. 766,064

At the age of 10, Samuel Barber wrote his first operetta, The Rose Tree, to a libretto by the family's cook.

FactSnippet No. 766,065

Samuel Barber was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1946 and studied conducting privately with George Szell.

FactSnippet No. 766,066

From his early adulthood, Samuel Barber wrote a flurry of successful compositions, launching him into the spotlight of the classical music world.

FactSnippet No. 766,067

Samuel Barber won the Bearns Prize a second time for his first large-scale orchestral work, an overture to The School for Scandal, which was composed in 1931 when he was 21 years old.

FactSnippet No. 766,068

In 1938, when Samuel Barber was 28, his Adagio for Strings was performed by the NBC Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Arturo Toscanini, along with his first Essay for Orchestra.

FactSnippet No. 766,069

In 1942, after the US entered World War II, Samuel Barber joined the Army Air Corps where he remained in service through 1945.

FactSnippet No. 766,070

The home served as their artistic retreat up until 1972, and it was at this house that Samuel Barber had his most productive years as a composer during the 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s.

FactSnippet No. 766,071

In 1953 Samuel Barber was introduced to soprano Leontyne Price by her voice teacher Florence Kimball, who was a friend of Samuel Barber, when he approached Kimball about needing a singer to perform his song cycle Hermit Songs.

FactSnippet No. 766,072

In 1958 Samuel Barber won the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his first opera Vanessa which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in January 1958 with a cast that included opera stars Eleanor Steber, Rosalind Elias, Regina Resnik, Nicolai Gedda, and Giorgio Tozzi.

FactSnippet No. 766,073

In 1962 Samuel Barber became the first American composer to attend the biennial Congress of Soviet Composers in Moscow.

FactSnippet No. 766,074

Samuel Barber began to divide his time between his home in New York and a chalet in Santa Christina, Italy where he spent long periods in isolation.

FactSnippet No. 766,075

Tensions grew between Menotti and Samuel Barber, leading Menotti to insist that the couple end their romantic attachment and put 'Capricorn' up for sale in 1970.

FactSnippet No. 766,076

Samuel Barber received numerous awards and prizes, including the Rome Prize, two Pulitzer Prizes, the Henry Hadley Medal, and the Gold Medal for Music at the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters .

FactSnippet No. 766,077

Samuel Barber was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters and, as a Fellow, to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1961.

FactSnippet No. 766,078

Samuel Barber was awarded the Edward MacDowell Medal in 1980 by the MacDowell Colony for outstanding contribution to the arts.

FactSnippet No. 766,079

Samuel Barber was president of the International Music Council of UNESCO.

FactSnippet No. 766,080

Samuel Barber worked to bring attention to and ameliorate adverse conditions facing musicians and musical organizations worldwide.

FactSnippet No. 766,081

Samuel Barber was one of the first American composers to visit Russia .

FactSnippet No. 766,082

Samuel Barber was influential in the successful campaign by composers against ASCAP, the goal of which was to increase royalties paid to composers.

FactSnippet No. 766,083

Samuel Barber wrote a concertante work for organ and orchestra entitled Toccata Festiva .

FactSnippet No. 766,084

The critical rejection of music that Samuel Barber considered to be among his best sent him into a deep depression.

FactSnippet No. 766,085

The Barber biographies written by Nathan Broder and Barbara B Heyman discuss the genesis of the concerto during the period of the violin concerto's commission and subsequent year leading up to the first performance.

FactSnippet No. 766,086