Babbitt, Milton (Byron )
- Elaine Barkin
- , revised by Martin Brody
- and Judith Crispin
(b Philadelphia, PA, May 10, 1916; d Princeton, NJ, Jan 29, 2011). American composer and theorist. He contributed extensively to the understanding and extension of 12-tone compositional theory and practice and was one of the most influential composers and teachers in the United States since World War II.
Brought up in Jackson, Mississippi, he started playing the violin at the age of four and several years later also studied clarinet and saxophone. He graduated from high school in 1931, having already demonstrated considerable skills in jazz ensemble performance and the composition of popular songs. His father’s professional involvement with mathematics (as an actuary) was influential in shaping Babbitt’s intellectual environment. In 1931 Babbitt entered the University of Pennsylvania with the intention of becoming a mathematician, but he soon transferred to New York University, concentrating on music under marion Bauer and ...