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William Schuman

Schuman, William (shōˈmən) [key], 1910–92, American composer, b. New York City. Schuman taught at Sarah Lawrence College (1935–45), and while president of the Juilliard School of Music (1945–62) he helped initiate the Juilliard Quartet. He was also president of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (1962–69). Among his outstanding compositions are his Third and Fourth symphonies (both 1941); American Festival Overture (1939); Symphony for Strings (1943); Newsreel (1941); two secular cantatas, This is Our Time (1940) and A Free Song (1942; awarded the first Pulitzer Prize in music, 1943); the ballet Undertow (1945); the opera The Mighty Casey (Hartford, 1953); and several chamber works. His music is highly contrapuntal and often employs complex rhythms suggestive of jazz. Schuman was awarded a second Pulitzer in 1985, this time for his lifetime achievements in composition, teaching, and administration.

See biography by J. W. Polisi (2008); S. Swayne, Orpheus in Manhattan: William Schuman and the Shaping of America's Musical Life (2011).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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