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Capping a life full of achievements in all facets of music are Morton Gould's 1995 Pulitzer Prize for
, commissioned by the National Symphony for the final season of music director Mstislav Rostropovich, and his 1994 Kennedy Center Honor in recognition of lifetime contributions to American culture.
Born in Richmond Hill, New York, on 10 December 1913, Gould was recognized early on as a child prodigy with the ability to improvise and compose. At the age of six he had his first composition published. He studied at the Institute of Musical Art (now the Juilliard School), but his most important teachers were Abby Whiteside (piano) and Vincent Jones (composition).
In addition to his Pulitzer Prize and Kennedy Center Honor, he was
1994 Composer-of-the-Year. A long-time member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, Gould was elected president of ASCAP in 1986, a post he held until 1994. In 1986 he was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He also served on the board of the American Symphony Orchestra League and on the National Endowment for the Arts music panel.