Pulitzer-Profitable Composer Ned Rorem has Died, Aged 99

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Additionally a famous diarist, Rorem took composition classes with composers Virgil Thomson and Aaron Copland throughout the Fifties


Born in Richmond, Indiana, in 1923, Ned Rorem was an award-winning composer and the creator of a number of printed diaries recognized for his or her candid accounts of his life in elite LGBTQ+ and creative circles from the Sixties onward. Rorem handed away in his Manhattan house. 

Rising up in Chicago, he started piano classes at a younger age and later attended Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music, the place he studied with Gian Carlo Menotti, one in all America’s hottest opera composers on the time.

Rorem additionally attended the Juilliard Faculty, the place upon commencement in 1948, served as an assistant and copyist for the composer and critic Virgil Thomson to assist himself in New York. Thomson paid Rorem $20 per week and gave him orchestration classes. 

In response to the New York Occasions, Rorem was solely 18 when he met Thomson, Leonard Bernstein, and Aaron Copland, all in a single weekend. Rorem later studied with Copland at what’s now the Tanglewood Music Middle.

“As a youngster at Philadelphia’s very correct Curtis Institute I might often head for New York to get into mischief,” Rorem recalled within the NY Occasions on the event of Copland’s eighty fifth birthday.

“One weekend, earlier than boarding the practice (I used to be off to see Virgil Thomson, whom I’d by no means met, about turning into his copyist), a schoolmate, Shirley Gabis, stated, ‘Why not drop in on my previous pal Lenny whilst you’re up there.’ I did. Accordingly Bernstein put me on to Copland — ‘Aaron likes understanding what younger composers are as much as’ — and I spent a day bleating my tunes for the well-known musician,” Rorem continued. “Effectively, I took the job with Virgil, turned an instantaneous fan of Aaron and Lenny, and for the following 42 years with many an up and down I’ve remained staunch mates with all three males.”



Rorem composed many symphonies, concertos, and operas, however the majority of his compositional output is in over 500 artwork songs — for which he turned recognized in his 20s. Over the a long time, he turned a extremely prolific composer and in 1976, received the Pulitzer Prize for his orchestral suite, “Air Music.”

Rorem’s diaries and memoir additionally achieved public recognition. He had sturdy opinions on composers together with Beethoven, Berlioz, Pierre Boulez, and Philip Glass, and wrote brazenly about his sexuality and private relationships all through his life. He additionally printed books of criticism and a common assortment of his letters and correspondence.

Between 2000 and 2003, Rorem served because the president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2005, a documentary was launched about him, titled “Ned Rorem: Phrase & Music.” As a instructor, he gave nationwide masterclasses and taught on the Curtis Institute for a few years, the place his college students included Pulitzer-winning composer Jennifer Higdon and opera composer Daron Hagen.

“As we bear in mind Ned Rorem immediately, take heed to our playlist stuffed with choices from his huge catalog — from chamber works, symphonies, and operas to his well-known songs,” Rorem’s writer, Boosey & Hawkes wrote on Fb. “Every work is a testomony to Rorem’s trademark wit and allure, in addition to his masterful craftsmanship.

Our condolences to Mr. Rorem’s household, mates, college students, and colleagues.




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