Samuel Barber, classical music composer

Samuel Barber image

Samuel Barber

Biography

Born into a distinguished family on March 9th, 1910, Samuel Barber showed an early interest and talent for music. He wrote his first composition at the age of seven and attempted his first opera when he was ten. At the age of fourteen, he entered the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia studying piano, composition and voice. Barber excelled in all three areas and became a favorite of the conservatory's founder, Mary Louise Curtis Bok, who introduced him to his lifelong publisher, the Schirmer family.

Throughout his twenties, Barber composed many of his most famous and successful compositions. In 1933, he composed the tone poem Music for a Scene from Shelley after reading Percy Shelley's "Prometheus Unbound." The work premiered two years later at Carnegie Hall. In the following years followed the famous Adagio for Strings, Symphony in One Movement, the First Essay for Orchestra and the Violin Concerto, all of which today are considered masterpieces of modern classical music.

An admirer of both Johann Sebastian Bach and Johannes Brahms, Barber's music was firmly grounded in tonality, featuring expressive, vocal-like melodies bathed in lush harmonies and an undeniable internal logic. These qualities set Barber at odds with the general trend of other composer's around him—a lone Romantic fighting for the supremacy of melody amidst a swarm of modernists. In his later years, however, Barber swayed from his ideal and utilized modern techniques such as polytonality, atonality and twelve-tone.

In 1958, Barber's first opera, Vanessa, premiered at the Metropolitan Opera. The opera soon gained the title of the first American grand opera and brought Barber his first Pulitzer Prize. The chamber opera, A Hand of Bridge, followed the next year. Barber's third opera, Antony and Cleopatra, was commissioned to open the new Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center in 1966. Plagued by disasters, the opera was a critical failure. Following its rejection, Barber suffered from depression and alcoholism though he still continued to compose. On January 23rd, 1981, Barber died from cancer in New York City.

Composer Title Date Action
Samuel Barber Sure on this Shining Night 01/23/2009 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Nocturne, Op. 33 01/17/2009 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Schottische, from Souvenirs, Op. 28 02/10/2009 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (Canzone) 08/19/2009 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Three Songs, Op. 41 01/29/2010 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Nocturne op. 33 10/22/2010 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Canzone for Violin and Piano 03/01/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Excursions Op 20 No 3 09/21/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber A Slumber Song of the Madonna, from Ten Early Songs 10/30/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber In the Dark Pinewood, from Ten Early Songs 10/30/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Serenader, from Ten Early Songs 10/30/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Beggar’s Song, from Ten Early Songs 10/30/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Sure on this shining night 10/30/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Sonata for cello and piano, Op. 6 11/14/2013 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Adagio, from String Quartet No. 2 01/25/2009 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber At Saint Patrick's Purgatory, from Hermit Songs, Op. 29 10/31/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Promiscuity, from Hermit Songs, Op. 29 11/01/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Sea-Snatch, from Hermit Songs, Op. 29 11/01/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber St. Ita's Vision, from Hermit Songs, Op. 29 10/31/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber The Desire for Hermitage, from Hermit Songs, Op. 29 11/01/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber The Heavenly Banquet, from Hermit Songs, Op. 29 11/01/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber The Monk and His Cat, from Hermit Songs, Op. 29 11/01/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Fuga from Piano Sonata Op.26 09/09/2009 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Piano Sonata Op. 26, 1st movement 07/05/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Piano Sonata Op. 26, 2nd movement 07/05/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Piano Sonata Op. 26, 3rd movement 07/05/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Piano Sonata Op. 26, 4th movement (Fugue) 07/05/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Sonata in e-flat minor, Op. 26 04/13/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Sonata in e-flat minor, Op. 26 07/06/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Sonata in e-flat minor, Op. 26 01/12/2009 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber String Quartet, Op. 11 11/10/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Four Songs for Voice and Piano, Op. 13 05/02/2010 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Départ, from Mélodies passagères, Op. 27 11/08/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Le clocher chante, from Mélodies passagères, Op. 27 11/08/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Puisque tout passe, from Mélodies passagères, Op. 27 11/08/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Tombeau dans un parc, from Mélodies passagères, Op. 27 11/08/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Un cygne, from Mélodies passagères, Op. 27 11/08/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber A green lowland of pianos, from Three Songs, Op.45 09/26/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber A green lowland of pianos, from Three Songs, Op.45 10/30/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Now have I fed and eaten up the rose, from Three Songs, Op.45 09/26/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber O boundless, boundless evening, from Three Songs, Op.45 09/26/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber O boundless, boundless evening, from Three Songs, Op.45 10/30/2011 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Allegro from the Violin Concerto 10/31/2010 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Excursions, Op. 20 05/06/2014 Play Add to playlist
Samuel Barber Ballade, Op. 46 06/16/2014 Play Add to playlist