Pulitzer Prize winner for "Meditations on Ecclesiastes" in 1957. He won an Emmy for "The Louvre," a 1964 NBC special.
He received a scholarship to the Juilliard School in 1939, where he was a student of the great composer Bernard Wagenaar.
He began collaborating with Martha Graham in 1948, writing for her 'Diversion of Angels,' 'Seraphic Dialogue,' and 'Symphony: The Triumph of Saint Joan,' a reworking of a previous chamber orchestra piece.
His son Norman became an American Olympic medalist in equestrian and his other son Justin became a composer. His godfather was Pietro Yon, longtime organist of Saint Patrick's Cathedral.
He studied with composer Paul Hindemith in 1941.