- Virginia Saya
- , revised by R. Daniel Hughes
(b York, PA, Oct 27, 1927; d Feb 20, 2019). American composer. The son of Sicilian immigrants, he showed early interest in music and began his early education reading Gershwin’s biography, writings by Stravinsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s book on orchestration. Self-taught in theory and analysis, he began piano lessons at age 16. In 1945 he was drafted into the army, and served as a cryptographer in North Africa during World War II. Following the war he entered the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore as a pianist on the GI Bill of Rights. His harmony teacher, Nicolas Nabokov, urged him to focus on composition, and through this influence as well as contact with the Baltimore composer Hugo Weisgall, Argento’s pronounced gift for vocal writing was furthered. It was also during this period that Argento met Carolyn Bailey, a soprano who premiered many of his early compositions, and later became his wife. After graduation from Peabody (BM ...