Lukas Foss

Lukas FossRT

Lukas Foss (1922 – 2009) and his family were forced to flee Nazi Germany in the 1930s. They eventually settled in the United States when Lukas was fifteen. He had studied music since childhood and made many early tries at composition. He studied composition and conducting at The Curtis Institute, where his conducting teacher was Fritz Reiner. He continued to study these two careers at Yale and Tanglewood: composition under Hindemith and conducting under Koussevitzky. He went on to achieve great success in both fields. Soon, in the early 1950s, he himself was teaching, replacing Arnold Schoenberg at UCLA.

His compositional style went through as many transformations as the times he lived through. Beginning with an “American” sound, he went on to experiment with serialism, improvisation, minimalism, and much more, all the while retaining his individuality. As a conductor, his tenures were marked by adventurous programming and exciting performances. He left his stamp on the Buffalo Philharmonic in the 1960s, the Brooklyn Philharmonic and Jerusalem Symphony in the 1970s, and the Milwaukee Symphony in the 1980s.