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Peter Lieberson


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Peter Lieberson (25 October 1946 – 23 April 2011) was an American composer.

Lieberson was born in New York City. His mother Eva Brigitta Hartwig was a ballerina and choreographer, also professionally known as Vera Zorina. His father, Goddard Lieberson, was president of Columbia Records.

Lieberson studied composition with Milton Babbitt, Charles Wuorinen, Donald Martino, and Martin Boykan. After completing his musical studies at Columbia University, he left New York in 1976 for Boulder, Colorado to continue his studies with Chogyam Trungpa, a Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist master. It was there he met and married Ellen Kearney, a fellow student of Chogyam Trungpa. At the request of their teacher, the Liebersons moved from Boulder to Boston, Massachusetts to co-direct Shambhala Training, a meditation and cultural program. Lieberson attended Brandeis University, from which he received a Ph.D. From 1984 to 1988 he taught at Harvard University. He then became international director of Shambhala Training in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Since 1994, Lieberson devoted his time entirely to composition. He met his second wife, mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in 1997 during the Santa Fe Opera production of his work Ashoka’s Dream and they married in 1999 after he and his first wife were divorced. He wrote his song cycles Rilke Songs and Neruda Songs for Hunt Lieberson.

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