Skip directly to content
Browse by:
  • Monday, April 25, 2011
    Composer Peter Lieberson Dies at 64
    Peter Lieberson

    Peter Lieberson, the composer of the highly acclaimed Neruda Songs, has died, following complications from lymphoma, at the age of 64. Lieberson died on Saturday, April 23, in Tel Aviv, where he was undergoing treatment for the disease.

    Lieberson was born in New York City in 1946, the son of Goddard Lieberson, president of Columbia Records, and the ballerina Vera Zorina. After composition studies at Columbia University, he studied with Chogyam Trungpa, a Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist master he met in 1974. A Ph.D. from Brandeis, years teaching at Harvard, directing Shambhala Training in Halifax, and many years composing followed.

    Peter Lieberson was honored many times in his career, including the University of Louisville’s Grawemeyer Award in Music Composition for Neruda Songs, his setting of Pablo Neruda's sonnets, which he wrote for his late wife, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, before her untimely passing in 2006. The mezzo-soprano was posthumously awarded the Grammy Award for the Nonesuch recording of the piece with James Levine and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2007.

    “I discovered the love poems of Pablo Neruda by chance in the Albuquerque airport,” the composer said. "The book had a pink cover and drew me in. As I glanced through the poems I immediately thought that I must set some of these for Lorraine ... I am so grateful for Neruda’s beautiful poetry, for although these poems were written to another, when I set them I was speaking directly to my own beloved, Lorraine.”

    The Washington Post described Neruda Songs as "one of the most extraordinarily affecting artistic gifts ever created by one lover to another ... [T]hey are just as universal as they are shatteringly personal."

    You can hear clips and read more about the piece at nonesuch.com/albums/neruda-songs. To read the New York Times obituary of Peter Lieberson, go to nytimes.com.

    Journal Articles:Artist News

Enjoy This Post?

Share This Post

Composer Peter Lieberson Dies at 64

Browse by:
nonesuch's picture
on April 25, 2011 - 10:24am
Article Type: 
Publish date: 
Monday, April 25, 2011 - 14:00
Excerpt: 

Peter Lieberson, the composer of the highly acclaimed Neruda Songs, has died, following complications from lymphoma, at the age of 64. Lieberson wrote Neruda Songs, his setting of Pablo Neruda's sonnets, for his late wife, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, before her untimely passing in 2006. "I am so grateful for Neruda’s beautiful poetry," the composer said, "for although these poems were written to another, when I set them I was speaking directly to my own beloved, Lorraine.”

Copy: 

Peter Lieberson, the composer of the highly acclaimed Neruda Songs, has died, following complications from lymphoma, at the age of 64. Lieberson died on Saturday, April 23, in Tel Aviv, where he was undergoing treatment for the disease.

Lieberson was born in New York City in 1946, the son of Goddard Lieberson, president of Columbia Records, and the ballerina Vera Zorina. After composition studies at Columbia University, he studied with Chogyam Trungpa, a Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist master he met in 1974. A Ph.D. from Brandeis, years teaching at Harvard, directing Shambhala Training in Halifax, and many years composing followed.

Peter Lieberson was honored many times in his career, including the University of Louisville’s Grawemeyer Award in Music Composition for Neruda Songs, his setting of Pablo Neruda's sonnets, which he wrote for his late wife, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, before her untimely passing in 2006. The mezzo-soprano was posthumously awarded the Grammy Award for the Nonesuch recording of the piece with James Levine and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2007.

“I discovered the love poems of Pablo Neruda by chance in the Albuquerque airport,” the composer said. "The book had a pink cover and drew me in. As I glanced through the poems I immediately thought that I must set some of these for Lorraine ... I am so grateful for Neruda’s beautiful poetry, for although these poems were written to another, when I set them I was speaking directly to my own beloved, Lorraine.”

The Washington Post described Neruda Songs as "one of the most extraordinarily affecting artistic gifts ever created by one lover to another ... [T]hey are just as universal as they are shatteringly personal."

You can hear clips and read more about the piece at nonesuch.com/albums/neruda-songs. To read the New York Times obituary of Peter Lieberson, go to nytimes.com.

featuredimage: 
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Peter Lieberson

Related Posts

  • Monday, June 27, 2022
    Monday, June 27, 2022

    "John’s music has been such a constant in my life that it’s reached a base level of my consciousness—it’s part of the way I hear all music now," Timo Andres (pictured here with John Adams in 2007) writes in his note in the new 40-disc box set John Adams Collected Works. "But in this case, it goes beyond the music. John showed me a model for life as an artist, one in which being communicative, permeable, and all-embracing can coexist with good craftsmanship, strongly held opinions, and the pursuit of one’s life’s work with single-minded intensity." You can read his complete note from the box set here.

    Journal Topics: Artist EssaysArtist News
  • Monday, June 27, 2022
    Monday, June 27, 2022

    SFJAZZ has announced its 2022–23 concert season including performances from Brad Mehldau, Joshua Redman, Christian McBride, Brian Blade, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Laurie Anderson, and Mariza. This marks the 10th anniversary season of the SFJAZZ Center and the 40th anniversary of the organization.

    Journal Topics: Artist NewsOn Tour
[{"parent":{"title":"Get on the list !","body":" Get exclusive information about NONESUCH tour dates, video premieres and special announcements ","field_newsletter_id":"14075483","field_label_list_id":"6389157","field_display_rates":"-1","field_preview_mode":"false","field_lbox_height":"","field_lbox_width":"","field_toaster_timeout":"16000","field_toaster_position":"From Bottom","field_turnkey_height":"800"}}]

Performs On