He studied violin with Einar Hansen (the concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra) from 1951 to 1959. He later studied composition at Harvard University with Leon Kirchner and David Del Tredici, receiving B.A. and M.A. degrees. In 1973 he won the Rome Prize and spent a year at the American Academy in Rome. 
His compositions have been performed by the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the American Composers Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the New Hampshire Symphony Orchestra, the North Carolina Symphony, and the Boston Classical Orchestra.
As a violinist, he has performed with Alea III, the Boston Classical Orchestra, the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, the Harvard Chamber Orchestra, and the Boston Ballet Orchestra. He performed the violin parts for Philip Glass's Einstein on the Beach in its 1984 revival.
He is a winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship (1981), a Kennedy Center Friedheim Award (second prize, 1994, for his orchestral work Bright Sambas), a Naumberg Recording Award, an American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award, an NEA grant, the Brandeis University Creative Arts Award.
He has lived in Boston, Massachusetts, but in 2008 is living in Amherst, Massachusetts.
- "History of the Rome Prize in Music Composition" (PDF). Retrieved 13 February 2015.
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