I pass his childhood home quite often when I drive through West Chester (here in PA). Who hasn't heard his Adagio for Strings?
Here's an excerpt from a letter he wrote when he was only 9 years old, breaking the news to his mom that he wanted to be a composer and not an athlete:
Dear Mother: I have written to tell you my worrying secret. Now don’t cry when you read it because it is neither yours nor my fault. I suppose I will have to tell it now, without any nonsense. To begin with I was not meant to be an athlete. I was meant to be a composer, and will be I’m sure. I’ll ask you one more thing .—Don’t ask me to try to forget this unpleasant thing and go play football.—Please—Sometimes I’ve been worrying about this so much that it makes me mad (not very). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Barber