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Blitzstein, Marc (02 March 1905–22 January 1964), composer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Samuel Marcus Blitzstein, a banker, and Anna Levitt. Blitzstein was afforded every opportunity for early musical training. He began piano studies at age three and at age seven made his concert debut and began to compose. He attended Philadelphia public schools and the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a full merit scholarship. In 1921 he was the gold medalist in a Philharmonic Society of Philadelphia contest, leading to a performance with the Academy of Music orchestra the following season. In 1922 he left the university without taking a degree and studied piano privately with Alexander Siloti in New York....

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Europe, James Reese (22 February 1880–09 May 1919), music administrator, conductor, and composer, was born in Mobile, Alabama, the son of Henry J. Europe, an Internal Revenue Service employee and Baptist minister, and Lorraine Saxon. Following the loss of his position with the Port of Mobile at the end of the Reconstruction, Europe’s father moved his family to Washington, D.C., in 1890 to accept a position with the U.S. Postal Service. Both of Europe’s parents were musical, as were some of his siblings. Europe attended the elite M Street High School for blacks and studied violin, piano, and composition with Enrico Hurlei of the U.S. Marine Corps band and with Joseph Douglass, the grandson of ...

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Hopkinson, Francis (02 October 1737–09 May 1791), author, composer, and judge, was born in Philadelphia, the son of Thomas Hopkinson, a lawyer and Pennsylvania councillor, and Mary Johnson. Hopkinson’s father emigrated from England in 1731. Hopkinson matriculated in the first class of the College of Philadelphia (later the University of Pennsylvania) in 1751; he graduated in 1757 and, with other members of his class, received an M.A. degree three years later....

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Lennon, John (09 October 1940–08 December 1980), rock music singer and composer, was born John Winston Lennon in Liverpool, England, the son of Alfred Lennon, a merchant seaman, and Julia Stanley. Alfred soon abandoned the boy and his mother, and from the time Lennon was five, he was raised by an aunt, Mimi Smith. When Lennon was seventeen, his mother was killed in a car accident. He later referred to these biographical facts in songs. He formed his first band, the Quarrymen, at Quarry Bank High School when he was sixteen, and he invited schoolmate Paul McCartney to join....