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Yuanqing Zhang

Though born in the heart of the United States in 1896 n the first half of the 20th century, much of the mature musical education of Virgil Thomson took place in France, where he was to live for a further fifteen years. It was the new approach to music that he inherited from his familiarity with the music of Satie and the other members of Les Six. From his early years he established two very differing styles that were to characterise his compositions, with progressive and almost intangible scores written at the same time as his more populist music. On his return to the States, he embraced folk music, and looked back to his roots in Missouri, and his love of the church music he heard as a child. He came to fame rather by the outrageous opera Four Saints in three Acts premiered in 1934. Its very avant-garde music and it almost unintelligible plot gave him a place among the most progressive composers. It was a title that he only half embraced, composing in the latest styles, while producing highly commercial scores, many of them used in the film industry. He was to write a modest amount of music in every genre, including a large number of musical portraits of famous people.



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