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The Italian-American Gian Carlo Menotti was born in the Italian community of Cadegliano in 1911. He started writing songs under his mother's tutelage at age seven, and he was 11 years old when he wrote his first opera, The Death of Pierrot. He began his formal musical education at the Verdi Conservatory in Milan in 1923. After his father's death, he went to Philadelphia, where, with the endorsement of Arturo Toscanini, he enrolled at the Curtis Institute of Music and completed his studies in music composition under Rosario Scalario. He wrote The Telephone, or L'Amour à trois in 1946. In 1951, he created his first television opera, the children's piece Amahl and the Night Visitors, which became his most frequently performed work around the world. The Consul won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical Play in 1954, among other accolades. He won the Pulitzer Prize twice, in 1950 and 1955, and was selected as a Kennedy Center honoree for lifetime achievement in the arts in 1984, and in 1991 he was selected Musical America's musician of the year.