Lukas Foss is a German-born American composer, conductor, pianist, and professor. The son of scholar Martin Fuchs, his family changed their name to Foss when they moved to Paris and then the United States after the rise of Nazism in Germany. While in Paris young Lukas studied piano, composition, orchestration, and flute with a cast of influential figures such as Lazare Levy and Felix Wolfes. After moving to the US in 1937 he studied at the Curtis Institute of Music, the Berkshire Music Center (now known as the Tanglewood Music Center), and as a special student of composition with Paul Hindemith at Yale.
Foss pushed for exposure of new music and was a beloved teacher. After replacing Arnold Schoenberg as professor of music at UCLA in 1953 he founded the Improvisation Chamber Ensemble. He founded the Center for Creative and Performing Arts while at the State University of New York at Buffalo. In 1991 be was appointed Professor of Music, Theory, and Composition at Boston University. He died of a heart attack in his home in Manhattan at the age of 86.