Lukas Foss was one of our most adventuresome composers. He was born in Berlin in 1922 to a Jewish family, which moved to Paris in 1933, and then to America in 1937, to escape the Nazi threat. He was a prodigious piano and compositional talent at a young age. Foss was to become the pianist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra during his early years, a professor at ucla and Boston University, the conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and the Jerusalem and Milwaukee Symphonies, and an elegant speaker about music.

Like his friend Leonard Bernstein, he made his mark in three areas: piano, composition, and conducting. Though he never rivaled Bernstein in popularity, Foss is the more interesting and accomplished composer. Where Lukas had a smaller stage ...