American composer John Corigliano was born in New York in 1938. He comes from a prominent musical family. His father was a violinist and concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic for 23 years. And his mother, Rose Buzen, is an accomplished pianist and educator. He attended Columbia University (B.A. 1959) and the Manhattan School of Music.
Corigliano worked as a music programmer for the New York Times radio station WQXR, and as music director for WBAI in NYC. He also produced recordings for Columbia Masterworks (1972-1973) and worked with Leonard Bernstein on the Young People's Concerts series for CBS (1961-1972). He taught at the Manhattan School, and at the Julliard School. In 1984 he was named Distinguished Professor of Music at Lehman College, City University of New York, and established a scholarship in his name. 1987-1990 he served as the first Composer-in-Residence of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
He is often described as an American composer of modern music with a tonal and romantic style. His compositions are intentionally available, and have been performed and recorded by many orchestras, soloists, and chamber musicians around the world. He has one of the most widely celebrated body of work created in the last forty years. His scores, numbering over one hundred, have won him many accolades and awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship 1968, the Grawemeyer Award 1991, two Grammy awards for Best Contemporary Composition 1991 and 1996, the Composition of the Year award from the International Music Awards 1992 for his opera The Ghosts of Versailles, and the 2001 Pulitzer Prize in Music for Symphony No.2 for String Orchestra. He was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1991. John Corigliano was a founding member of Music of Remembrance's Advisory Board. He is also one of the few living composers to have a string quartet named for him, at Indiana University in 1995.
John Corigliano has lived in New York City all his life. For the past fourteen years he and his composer partner, Mark Adamo, have divided their time between their New York homes in Manhattan and Kent Cliffs.