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Charles Hamm was born in Charlottesville, Virginia on 21 April 1925. He studied music at the University of Virginia (BA 1947, MFA 1960) and at Princeton University (PhD). His teachers include Stephen Tuttle and Randall Thompson. Primarily a musicologist, Hamm has composed several short operas, mainly to his own librettos, including "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (after James Thurber, given in Athens, Ohio, in 1953) and "The Box" (performed in New Orleans in 1961). His "Round", published by Media Press, was written for the University of Illinois Contemporary Chamber Players and utilizes a motorized music rack powered by a record turntable. It can be performed without the apparatus.