George Crumb was born in Charleston, West Virginia, on October 24, 1929. His principal teacher in composition was Ross Lee Finney at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, the university from which he received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree.
Crumb has been the recipient of numerous honors, awards and commissions, including: the 1968 Pulitzer Prize; the 1971 International Rostrum of Composers (UNESCO) Award; Fromm, Guggenheim, Koussevitsky and Rockefeller Foundation Awards; and is a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. In 1995 Crumb became the 36th recipient of the MacDowell medal, an award named in honor of the American composer which is awarded annually to a composer, writer or visual artist who, in the judgment of his/her peers has made an outstanding contribution to the nation’s culture. He is internationally recognized as a composer and has traveled abroad extensively for the State Department and other organisations to Asia, Australia and Europe. His music has received numerous performances both in the US and around the world and his orchestral works have been performed by all the major American orchestras.
Audience enthusiasm, critical acclaim and colleagues’ praise have been extensive for Crumb’s works. The attributes most frequently cited are: an extraordinarily sensitive ear producing highly refined tinbral nuances, a very powerful evocative sense, and a sureness and concision in realizing his musical intentions.