Time Magazine has called Ned Rorem "the world's best composer of art songs." But his settings of hundreds of poems are only the beginning of his love of the written word. He is a celebrated author as well, and his achievement as composer and writer is unique among living American artists. In addition to his songs and song cycles, his catalog of compositions includes three symphonies, four piano concertos, six operas, many choral works, ballets and music for the theater, and a wide array of chamber music. His fourteen books include five volumes of diaries and collections of lectures and criticism. Fittingly, this creator in two disciplines has served as President of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Rorem was born in Richmond, Indiana on October 23, 1923. As a child he moved with his family to Chicago, where, he says, his introduction to the piano music of Debussy and Ravel "changed my life forever." He attended the Music School of Northwestern University, and two years later received a scholarship to study at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. From there he went to Juilliard, earning a B.A. in 1946 and M.A. in 1948, receiving the George Gershwin Memorial Prize in composition. Soon thereafter he was employed as Virgil Thomson's copyist, his wages supplemented by orchestration lessons. Since Thomson was regarded as one of the great music critics of his day, it’s possible Rorem absorbed some sage advice on writing as well.

Soon after his time with Thomson, Rorem moved to Paris, where he lived from 1949 to 1958. His compositional voice -- elegant and never ponderous -- partakes of the French spirit. He has never felt any impulse to stray from the language of tonality, which he staunchly defends against those of a non-tonal persuasion. He has been the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship (1951), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1957), and an award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters (1968). His suite Air Music won the 1976 Pulitzer Prize in music. Among his many commissions are those from the Ford Foundation (for Poems of Love and the Rain 1962); the Lincoln Center Foundation (for Sun 1965); the Koussevitzky Foundation (for Letters from Paris 1966); the Atlanta Symphony (for String Symphony, 1985); the Chicago Symphony (for Goodbye, My FancySpring Music 1990); and from Carnegie Hall (for 1991). Among the distinguished conductors who have performed his music are Bernstein, Masur, Mehta, Mitropoulos, Ormandy, Previn, Reiner, Slatkin, Steinberg, and Stokowski. In addition to his composition awards, Rorem has received several ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards for his books: in 1971 for Critical Affairs, A Composer's Journal; in 1975 for The Final Diary and in 1992 for an article on American opera in Opera News. He currently lives in New York City and Nantuck.


Cycle of Holy Songs

Instrumentation: Soprano, Piano
Duration: 10:15
Item Number: 2252
Price: 13,00 €