DAVID DIAMOND (1915 - 2005)
One of the great American composers, David Diamond was born 9 July 1915 in Rochester, New York. He studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and then went on to the Eastman school, where he studied composition under Bernard Rogers and violin under Effie Knauss. He received a scholarship to attend the New Music School and Dalcroze Institute in 1934, where he studied there until 1936. That same year, he was commissioned to compose music for a ballet, Tom, based on Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Diamond went to Paris to work on the ballet. Although the work was not performed at that time because of financial problems, it finally premièred in 1985 and was received quite warmly.
In 1937, Diamond composed Psalm, an opera, which won the Julliard Publication award that year. The following year, Diamond was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.
In 1939, Diamond returned to the United States after Germany declared war on France. He went to New York, where he continued composing while he earned his living working in a soda shop at night. His work continued to receive the highest acclaim. In 1947, he composed his String Quartet No 3, which received the New York Music Critics’ Circle Award in 1947. His fourth string quartet was nominated for a GRAMMY® award. Diamonds work has been played on numerous occasions by the New York Philharmonic and conducted by Leonard Bernstein.
In 1986, Diamond received the William Schuman Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1991, he received the Gold Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Edward MacDowell Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement. In 1995, Diamond was honored in a ceremony at the White House, where he was awarded National Medal of Arts.