First recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music. He won for his piece 'A Free Song,' adapted from poems by
He played the violin and banjo as a child, but he was more passionate about baseball than music. He started a dance band during his high-school years called Billy Schuman and his Alamo Society Orchestra.
He was a composition professor at Sarah Lawrence College from 1935 until 1945 and became president of Juilliard School in 1945. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1987.
His parents Samuel and Rachel Schuman were Jewish and residing in Manhattan when he was born.
His parents named him after the 27th U.S. president William Howard Taft.