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Virgil Thomson
b.1896 — d.1989


Virgil Thomson (November 25, 1896 – September 30, 1989) was an American composer and music critic. He was born in Kansas City, Missouri and was a prodigious child, later studying the piano work of Erik Satie at Harvard. After studying for a year in Paris on a fellowship he returned to the city from 1925 – 1940 where he became friends with many prominent figures including James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, e.e. cummings, Aaron Copland, Igor Stravinsky, Pablo Picasso, Orson Welles, and others. He studied with Nadia Boulanger. After publishing his book The State of Music he lived in New York working as a critic and composer for theatre and film. He became a mentor to a new generation of tonal composers including Ned Rorem, Paul Bowles, and Leonard Bernstein though pointedly ignored female composers. He received many awards during his life and was known as a modernist and neoclassical composer.
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