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Lukas Foss at the piano
Lukas Foss (August 15, 1922 – February 1, 2009), born Lukas Fuchs, was a German-born Americanmarker composer, conductor, pianist, and professor.

Music career

Lukas Foss was born in Berlinmarker, Germanymarker in 1922. He studied with Julius Goldstein-Herford. After the rise of Nazism in Germany, he and his family moved to Paris in 1933, where he studied piano with Lazare Lévy, composition with Noël Gallon, orchestration with Felix Wolfes, and flute with Louis Moyse. In 1937 he moved to the United States, where he changed his name to Lukas Foss. He studied at the Curtis Institute of Musicmarker in Philadelphiamarker, with Isabelle Vengerova (piano), Rosario Scalero (composition) and Fritz Reiner (conducting). He also studied with Sergei Koussevitzky during the summers from 1939 to 1943 at the Berkshire Music Center (now known as the Tanglewood Music Center) and, as a special student, composition with Paul Hindemith at Yale Universitymarker from 1939 to 1940. He became an American citizen in 1942.

Foss was appointed professor of music at the University of California, Los Angelesmarker in 1953, replacing Arnold Schoenberg. While there he founded the Improvisation Chamber Ensemble. He founded the Center for Creative and Performing Arts in 1963 while at the University at Buffalo. From 1963 to 1970 he was Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. From 1981 to 1986, he was conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He was a Professor of Music, Theory, and Composition at Boston Universitymarker beginning in 1991. His notable students include Claire Polin and Rocco Di Pietro.

He is grouped in the "Boston school" along with Arthur Berger, Irving Fine, Alexei Haieff, Harold Shapero, and Claudio Spies.

Foss died at his home in Manhattan, New Yorkmarker on February 1, 2009, at the age of 86.


Notable students


  • Wife: Cornelia Brendel Foss, artist/painter; born in Berlin in 1931, married in 1951
  • Son: Christopher Brendel Foss, corporate consultant on social and environmental engagement / sustainability communications
  • Daughter: Eliza Foss Topol, actress
  • Professional Honorary Member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity


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