He was born into a comfortable educated social and distinguiSamuel Barberd American family. Toscanini had only rarely performed music by American composers before (an exception was Howard Hanson's Second Symphony which he conducted in 1933). When Barber was 28 his Adagio for Strings was performed by the NBC Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Arturo Toscanini in 1938 along with his first Essay for Orchestra.
" His Adagio for Strings (1936) has earned a permanent place in the concert repertory of orchestras. He is one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century; music critic Donal Henahan stated that "Probably no other American composer has ever enjoyed such early such persistent and such long-lasting acclaim.