Donald Martino, 74; Composer of Atonal Works Won Pulitzer

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Donald Martino, 74, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, died Dec. 8 of cardiac arrest after an attack of hypoglycemia, the Boston Globe reported. Martino was on a Caribbean cruise off the coast of Antigua at the time.

Widely respected for his atonal works, Martino won the Pulitzer in 1974 for “Notturno,” a 20-minute chamber work for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano. Boston Globe critic Michael Steinberg called it “nocturnal theater of the soul.”

A native of Plainfield, N.J., Martino began studying music when he was 9, eventually learning to play the clarinet, oboe and saxophone.

He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Syracuse University and a master of fine arts degree at Princeton University.


He taught at Princeton, Yale University and the Tanglewood Music Center before taking a teaching post at the New England Conservatory in 1969.

He joined the faculty at Brandeis University in 1980 and taught at Harvard University from 1983 until his retirement in 1993.