Seymour Barab | A Minute with Miles


The American composer Seymour Barab started out as a pianist and organist, but as a teenager he took up the cello, and as a cellist he became a highly successful orchestra musician, founder of important string quartets, top commercial free-lance player, champion of new music, and later, after mastering the viola da gamba, champion of old music.

As a composer Barab was incredibly fast and prolific, and he’s especially known for his comic operas and children’s operas. His opera Little Red Riding Hood, for example, has in some years been the most frequently performed opera in America. He also wrote countless songs and chamber music works, works that are always rhythmically complex, and challenging to play, but also always somehow lighthearted and charming. Seymour Barab was born on January 9, 1921, and he died in June 2014. I had the great good fortune to know him and to play his music, and I miss him.

PHOTO CREDIT: Little Red Riding Hood (1881) by Carl Larsson