U.S. composer. Born to immigrant parents in Brooklyn, N.Y., he studied with Rubin Goldmark and later with N. Boulanger at Fontainebleau. Though cosmopolitan in his tastes, he adopted notably Amer. traits in his music, especially after c.1930. With R. Sessions, he sponsored an important series of new-music concerts in New York. He cofounded the Amer. Composers Alliance, serving as president 1937-45. For over 20 years he headed the Berkshire Music Center's faculty. Famously public-spirited and generous, he came to be unofficially regarded as the U.S.'s national composer. He is best known for his ballets, incl. Billy the Kid (1938), Rodeo (1942), and Appalachian Spring (1944, Pulitzer Prize). His influential film scores include Of Mice and Men (1939), Our Town (1940), and The Heiress (1948). His orchestral works include a piano concerto (1926), El Saló n Mé xico (1936), A Lincoln Portrait (1942), a clarinet concerto (1948), and three symphonies (1924, 1933, 1946). His other works include the operas The Second Hurricane (1936) and The Tender Land (1954), the piano trio Vitebsk (1929), and the Piano Variations (1930).