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Foss, Lukas

Foss, Lukas

Born in 1922


Inducted in 2002

German-born Lukas Foss was a genuine wunderkind. By age seven he had written his first composition and was already a serious pianist. At fifteen, he came to America to study at the Curtis Institute of Music. He completed his formal studies in three years, and stepped out into the world of American classical music as a brilliant pianist, composer, and conductor. From 1944 to 1950 Foss was the pianist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In 1953 he was named professor of composition to succeed Arnold Schoenberg at UCLA. In 1957 he formed the Improvisation Chamber Ensemble wherein musicians perform classical music?like jazz musicians? improvising on melodic and rhythmic fragments It’s called “chance” music, because each performance is open to chance. Lukas Foss was principal conductor of several orchestras?the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Milwaukee Symphony, and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. He also guest-conducted nearly every major symphony orchestra in the world. He received two Guggenheim Fellowship Awards, a Fulbright Scholarship, and eight honorary doctorates. He has taught at Harvard, Yale, Manhattan School of Music, Carnegie Mellon University, and Boston University. Lukas Foss stands among the truly original and eloquent voices in 20th century classical music.