Composer Peter Lieberson dies at 64
10th May 2011
Lieberson, honored many times in his career including the University of Louisville’s Grawemeyer Award in Music Composition for Neruda Songs, his setting Pablo Neruda's sonnets for mezzo-soprano and orchestra was influenced by Buddhism and by the teachings of Chogyam Trungpa.
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.
Many of his works were inspired by Buddhist themes, such as King Gesar and the opera Ashoka's Dream, both from a series of works based on the lives of enlightened rulers. Lyricism and vocal writing dominated his works of the last decade, reflecting the rich collaborations with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, for whom he composed Neruda Songs. In addition to his associations with major orchestras such as Boston, New York, Cleveland, Chicago, and Los Angeles, Lieberson enjoyed long-standing artistic collaborations with Peter Serkin, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, and Oliver Knussen.obituary in The New York Times