US composer. He worked in a neoclassical, astringent style. Compositions include Adagio for Strings (1936) and the opera Vanessa (1958), which won one of his two Pulitzer Prizes. Another opera, Antony and Cleopatra (1966), was commissioned for the opening of the new Metropolitan Opera House at the Lincoln Center, New York City. Owing to an over-elaborate staging the opera was a failure at its premiere, although it had some success in a revised version in 1974. Barber's music is lyrical and fastidiously worked. His later works include The Lovers (1971).
He entered the Curtis Institute of Music in 1924, winning a prize with a violin sonata in 1928. In the following years he won several more prizes, including the American Prix de Rome in 1935.
WorksOperaVanessa (1958), Antony and Cleopatra (after Shakespeare, 1966, revised 1974).
Orchestral two essays for orchestra; overture to Sheridan's School for Scandal (1933); music for a scene from Shelley for orchestra; violin concerto (1940), cello concerto (1945), piano concerto (1962).
ChamberAdagio for Strings (from string quartet of 1936); Capricorn Concerto for flute, oboe, trumpet, and strings (1944); piano sonata.
VocalDover Beach (Matthew Arnold) for baritone and string quartet (1933); Knoxville, Summer of 1915 for soprano and orchestra (1948); works for unaccompanied chorus; many songs.