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Born 20 January 1894 in Rockland, Maine, Walter Piston was recognized in his lifetime as the ultimate musical craftsman, producing a body of orchestral and chamber work distinguished by its quintessential neo-classic qualities of clarity and proportion. Also a noted educator, Piston taught at Harvard from 1926 to 1960 and wrote three significant music textbooks:
(1955). Among Piston's many noted students were Elliott Carter, Leonard Bernstein, and Arthur Berger.
Among Piston's many awards and honors were three New York Music Critic's Circle Awards for his
Symphony No. 2
String Quartet No. 5
, two Pulitzers, and eight honorary doctorates. He was elected to the American Institute and Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A recent series of recordings has precipitated a revival of interest in Piston's work.