WALTER PISTON 1894 - 1976

Walter Hamor Piston Jr, (January 20, 1894 – November 12, 1976), was an American composer of classical music, music theorist and professor of music at Harvard University whose students included Leroy Anderson, Leonard Bernstein and Elliott Carter. Wikipedia Bio. During the 1910s, Piston made a living playing piano and violin in dance bands and later playing violin in orchestras led by Georges Longy.
During World War I, he joined the U.S. Navy as a band musician after rapidly teaching himself to play saxophone; he later stated that, when "it became obvious that everybody had to go into the service, I wanted to go in as a musician". While playing in a service band, he taught himself to play most wind instruments. "They were just lying around," he later observed, "and no one minded if you picked them up and found out what they could do". Piston was admitted to Harvard College in 1920, where he studied counterpoint with Archibald Davison, canon and fugue with Clifford Heilman, advanced harmony with Edward Ballantine, and composition and music history with Edward Burlingame Hill. He often worked as an assistant for various music professors there, and conducted the student orchestra. In 1920, Piston married artist Kathryn Nason (1892–1976), who had been a fellow student at the Normal Arts School. The marriage lasted until her death in February 1976, a few months before his own.

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