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Marc Blitzstein

Young moustached man at a piano

Marc Blitzstein, 1905-1964, composer for Native Land, 1942, and the earlier Spanish Earth, 1938.  Composer of musical theater, operas, symphonic music and film scores, Blitzstein was a central character in the turn of American classical music toward social consciousness in the 1930’s. His works, The Cradle Will Rock, 1936; No for an Answer, 1931; and Airborne Symphony, 1941 had incalculable influence on American theatrical music (particularly Leonard Bernstein and Steven Sondheim). In 1958, when called before the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities, he admitted in closed session that he had been a member of the Communist Party, but refused to name names. He was not called to testify publically. At the time of his early violent death, his friend, Leonard Bernstein said “…His special position in musical theatre is irreplaceable.”

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