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Which composers influenced you most?

Question: Which composers influenced you most?

John Harbison: Mostly the musicians that I learned from and whose music I was studying and playing, some of whom I knew if they were alive. These came from very many fields of music. Probably Stravinsky who was still alive, and who I did witness as a young kid conducting, and whose music I knew at a very early age. For some of that period Bartok was still around. Jazz musicians that I knew really well from the recordings who I occasionally heard live, Thelonious Monk was probably most important or Oscar Peterson – I just felt they were almost like my friends. I adopted them. Bach, who was probably from the very beginning the first music I knew, and the first music that my father taught me to play, and certainly the music that I continue to be the most interested in over time.

Recorded On: 6/12/07

Harbison discusses his influences and recounts seeing Stravinsky conduct.

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