Prize-Winning Composer, Writer Dies at 99 – Billboard


Ned Rorem, the prolific Pulitzer- and Grammy-winning musician identified for his huge output of compositions and for his barbed and generally scandalous prose, died Friday (Nov. 18) at 99.



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The information was confirmed by a publicist for his longtime music writer, Boosey & Hawkes, who stated he died of pure causes at his dwelling on Manhattan’s Higher West Aspect.

The good-looking, energetic artist produced a thousand-work catalog starting from symphonies and operas to solo instrumental, chamber and vocal music, along with 16 books. He additionally contributed to the rating for the Al Pacino-starring movie Panic in Needle Park.

Time journal as soon as known as Rorem “the world’s greatest composer of artwork songs,” and he was notable for his lots of of compositions for the solo human voice. The poet and librettist J.D. McClatchy, writing in The Paris Evaluate, described him as “an untortured artist and dashing narcissist.”

His music was principally tonal, although very a lot trendy, and Rorem didn’t hesitate to purpose his printed phrases at different distinguished contemporaries who espoused the dissonant avant-garde, like Pierre Boulez.

“If Russia had Stalin and Germany had Hitler, France nonetheless has Pierre Boulez,” Rorem as soon as wrote.

He had a primary motto for songwriting: “Write gracefully for the voice — that’s, make the voice line as seen on paper have the arched movement which singers wish to interpret.”

Rorem gained the 1976 Pulitzer for his “Air Music: Ten Etudes for Orchestra.” The 1989 Grammy for excellent orchestral recording went to The Atlanta Symphony for Rorem’s “String Symphony, Sunday Morning, and Eagles.”

His 1962 “Poems of Love and the Rain” is a 17-song cycle set to texts by American poets; the identical textual content is about twice, in a contrasting manner.

Born in Richmond, Indiana, Rorem was the son of C. Rufus Rorem, whose concepts within the Nineteen Thirties had been the idea for the Blue Cross and Blue Protect insurance policy and who turned to Quaker philosophy, elevating his son as a pacifist.

The youthful Rorem went to day college on the elite College of Chicago Laboratory Faculties. By the point he was 10, his piano instructor launched him to Debussy and Ravel, which “modified my life eternally,” stated the composer whose music was tinged with French lyricism.

He went on to check on the American Conservatory of Music in Hammond, Indiana, and Northwestern College in Evanston, Illinois, then the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and the Juilliard Faculty in New York.

As a younger composer within the Nineteen Fifties, he lived overseas for eight years, principally in Paris however with two years in Morocco.

The Paris Diary covers his keep there and is crammed with well-known names of individuals he met — Jean Cocteau, Francis Poulenc, Balthus, Salvador Dali, Paul Bowles, John Cage, Man Ray, and James Baldwin. The late author Janet Flanner known as it “worldly, clever, licentious, extremely indiscreet.” Rorem himself stated his textual content was “crammed with drunkenness, intercourse, and the discuss of my betters.”

His literary self-portrait continued by means of 1985, contained in The New York Diary, The Later Diaries and The Nantucket Diary.

“His essays are composed like scores,” McClatchy as soon as wrote of him. “The identical hallmarks we hear for in Rorem’s music will likely be present in his essays a effectively: indirection, instinctive grace, mental aplomb, a lyrical line.”

Some had been appalled by Rorem’s infamous accounting of his relationships with 4 big-name males in music: Leonard Bernstein, Noel Coward, Samuel Barber, and Virgil Thomson. He additionally outed a couple of others.

However most of his non-public life was centered round James Holmes, an organist and choir director with whom he lived for 3 a long time in New York Metropolis. Holmes died in 1999. A press release from Boosey & Hawkes stated Rorem died surrounded by family and friends and is survived by six nieces and nephews and eleven grandnieces and grandnephews.

Drawing on his upbringing, Rorem based mostly his Quaker Reader — a set of items for organ — on Quaker texts.

As for his non-musical writings, he stated: “My music is a diary no much less compromising than my prose. A diary however differs from a musical composition in that it depicts the second, the author’s current temper which, had been it inscribed an hour later, might emerge fairly in any other case.”

Rorem’s essays on music seem in anthologies titled Setting the Tone, Music from the Inside Out, and Music and Folks.

“Why do I write music?” he as soon as requested. “As a result of I wish to hear it — it’s so simple as that.”

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