Peter Lieberson, Composer Inspired by Buddhism, Dies at 64

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.

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. Reviewing a 2008 concert of Mr. Lieberson’s works in The New York Times, Allan Kozinn praised his “cohesive, energetic and intensely communicative style, with brainy, atonal surfaces that attest to his post-tonal pedigree and a current of lyricism and drama that gives this music its warmth and passion.”

While at Columbia, he began to practice Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism, and in 1976, he moved to Boulder, Colo., to continue his studies with the Buddhist master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. There, Mr. Lieberson met and married Ellen Kearney, another of Trungpa Rinpoche’s students; together, they moved to Boston to direct Shambhala Training, a meditation and cultural program. Mr. Lieberson received a Ph.D. from Brandeis University and taught composition at Harvard University from 1984 to 1988.

Mr. Lieberson served for several years as international director of Shambhala Training in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he and his family moved in 1988. After 1994, Mr. Lieberson devoted all his time to composition, but his Buddhist practice remained a central theme in his work. His first opera, “Ashoka’s Dream,” was based on the life of an emperor of India in the third century B.C. who renounced violence after converting to Buddhism.

Read more…

5/6 – Fukačová plays Lieberson – The Six Realms: The Human Realm

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One Comment to “Peter Lieberson, Composer Inspired by Buddhism, Dies at 64”

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