American Composer Peter Lieberson Dies of Lymphoma


Famed American composer, Peter Lieberson, died on Saturday in Israel. Diagnosed with lymphoma shortly after the death of his wife Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in 2006, Peter sought medical attention for his condition for extended periods of time – all the while never allowing it to ruin his desire to partake in the activity he loved most and was best at: composing music.

Born in New York in 1946, Lieberson gained critical acclaim in 1983 with a piano concert written for Peter Serkin. Serkin, over the years, would become a focal point of the composer’s success – serving as both an inspiration and strong endorser of his music.

Lieberson’s latest acclaimed work came when he put together “Neruda Songs,” a cycle of particular songs created to love poems by Pablo Neruda. This effort, in turn, earned him the Grawemeyer Award in 2008.

Lieberson was the son of the former head of Columbia Records, Goddard Lieberson. His mother, Vera Zorina, was a ballet dancer and actress.

A New York Times article by Alan Kozinn profiled Lieberson and portrayed him in a very fond light:

"Mr. Lieberson's works meld most of those influences into a cohesive, energetic and intensely communicative style, with brainy, atonal surfaces that attest to his post-tonal pedigree and a current of lyricism and drama that gives this music its warmth and passion," Kozinn wrote.

Lieberson is survived by his wife, and three children from his first marriage.

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