One of the greatest composers of the 20th century whose intensely lyrical "Adagio for Strings" from 1936 is frequently performed.
He composed his first work, a 23-measure solo piece, when he was seven.
His compositions used odd timing and structure; he started one piece with violins striking on B-flat.
He was born into a socially and economically comfortable Irish-American family; his father was a physician and his mother was a pianist.
His compositions were largely commissioned or first performed by such famous artists as Vladimir Horowitz.
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