Born 9 March 1910 in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Samuel Barber started composing at age 7 and attempted his first opera at age 10. He was only 28 when he wrote his master piece, Adagio for Strings. That was in 1938. Barber was very productive after that, but none of his works achieved similar recognition. After the harsh rejection of his third opera Antony and Cleopatra which he believed contained some of his best music, he was diagnosed with clinical depression.