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Auburn alumnus now a Notre Dame professor, composer

As an Auburn High School student in the early 2000s, John Liberatore would use his study hall periods and lunch breaks to sneak into the auditorium and play its grand piano.

Because a grand piano isn’t exactly subtle, people caught on to what he was doing, Liberatore said, and it eventually become a “sanctioned activity.”

That same passion for music will lead Liberatore — now a composer and assistant professor of music theory and composition at Notre Dame — back to Auburn. He is one of five former students who will be inducted into the Auburn Alumni Hall of Distinction by the Auburn Education Foundation in May.

Liberatore, 34, who graduated from Auburn High in 2003, estimates he has written around 40 pieces professionally. His work has been performed in prestigious venues such as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Carnegie Hall, and in venues as far away as Asia and South America. His academic experience includes a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse Universe and a doctorate in music composition from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester. He began at Notre Dame in the fall of 2015.

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