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Marc Blitzstein composing, 1946Blitzstein composing, 1946
Marc Blitzstein and Norman del Mar, 1950Marc Blitzstein and Norman del Mar, 1950

Marc Blitzstein, signed photo, date unknownMarc Blitzstein – born in Philadelphia in 1905 – showed musical promise as a pianist at a young age. He began composing lieder and short piano pieces in his teens, before going on to study composition at the Curtis Institute from 1924-1926, and then briefly in Europe with Nadia Boulanger and Arnold Schoenberg. He achieved nearly overnight notoriety with his 1937 agitprop musical theater work, The Cradle Will Rock. His other well-known works include his opera Regina, The Airborne Symphony, and his English adaptation of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera. At the time of his unexpected and tragic death in 1964, much of his work was left unfinished and unpublished, leaving behind a legacy that has been largely overlooked in the ensuing decades.

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