Samuel Barber was born in Pennsylvania on March 9, 1910. His family and extended family were very musical and Barber started composing at age 7. At 14 he entered the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia to study piano, voice, and composition. He served in the Army Air Corps during WWII, where he was commissioned to write the Symphony Dedicated to the Air Forces in 1943. Supposedly, Barber destroyed all parts of the score in 1964.
Barber enjoyed composing for vocal pieces, and used his own voice for a few pieces. His opera Vanessa (1958) won a Pulitzer Prize.
Among his orchestral works are Adagio for Strings (1938), Violin Concerto (1939), and an Overture to The School for Scandal (1931).
He died in 1981 in New York City.