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The best American composers
8. Samuel Barber
Samuel Barber was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and took a great interest in music from a young age. He wrote his first work The School for Scandal when he was just 21. A few years later he wrote the piece that he would become synonymous with, Adagio for Strings. In its original form it’s part of a string quartet but he was urged to rearrange it for a full orchestra by Arturo Toscanini. Adagio for Strings was a huge success even before it was used so movingly in Oliver Stone’s Platoon. The Metropolitan Opera's home at the Lincoln Center (pictured) was opened in 1966 with a special work commissioned for the opening by Samuel Barber entitled Anthony and Cleopatra.