NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Dominick Argento has passed away at the age of 91.
Argento, who died Wednesday in Memphis, was best known for his musical works inspired by the lives and literature of Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Casanova, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Henry James and Virginia Woolf, the latter of which earned him a Pulitzer in 1975.
Born in Pennsylvania to Sicilian immigrant parents, Argento completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the Peabody Conservatory. He later became music director of Hilltop Opera in Baltimore and taught at the Eastman School in Rochester, New York. In 1958, he joined the faculty of the Department of Music at the University of Minnesota, where he taught until 1997 and later held the rank of Professor Emeritus.
Argento was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1979 and received the George Peabody Medal in 1993. In 2003 Argento won a Grammy Award for best classical contemporary composition for “Casa Guidi,” recorded by mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade and the Minnesota Orchestra.
His death was confirmed by Carol Ann Cheung, a spokeswoman for his music publisher, Boosey & Hawkes.