Obituary: Composer Peter Lieberson, 64

Posted on: April 25, 2011

In Sunday’s (4/24) New York Times, Zachary Woolfe writes, “Peter Lieberson, a searching, inventive American composer whose works were often inspired by his Tibetan Buddhist practice, died on Saturday morning in Tel Aviv, where he had gone for medical treatment. He was 64 and lived in Santa Fe, N.M. The cause was complications of lymphoma, said Kristin Lancino, the vice president of G. Shirmer, his publisher. Mr. Lieberson received his diagnosis soon after his second wife, the mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, died of breast cancer in 2006. He composed some of his most acclaimed songs for her. Mr. Lieberson was an eloquent voice in the generation of composers seeking to infuse the thorny rigors of academic music with a more accessible, lyrical sound. … In 1983, Mr. Lieberson’s first Piano Concerto brought him to prominence when it was given its first performances by Peter Serkin, one of his longtime champions, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa. … He composed some of his most expressive music for Ms. Hunt Lieberson, including ‘Rilke Songs’ in 2001 and, in 2005, ‘Neruda Songs,’ which won the 2007 Grawemeyer Award and which Tim Page in The Washington Post called ‘one of the most extraordinarily affecting artistic gifts ever created by one lover to another.’ ”

Posted April 25, 2011