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In the earliest published diaries of Ned Rorem, the acclaimed American composer recalls a bygone era and its luminaries, celebrates the creative process, and examines the gay culture of Europe and the US during the 1950s

One of America’s most significant contemporary composers, Ned Rorem is also widely acclaimed as a diarist of unique insight and refreshing candor. Together, his Paris Diary, first published in 1966, and The New York Diary,which followed a year later, paint a colorful landscape of Rorem’s world and its famous inhabitants, as well as a fascinating self-portrait of a footloose young artist unabashedly drinking deeply of life. In this amalgam of forthright personal reflections and cogent social commentary, unprecedented for its time, Rorem’s anecdotal recollections of the decade from 1951 to 1961 represent Gay Liberation in its infancy as the author freely expresses his open sexuality not as a revelation but as a simple fact of life.

At once blisteringly honest and exquisitely entertaining, Rorem’s diaries expound brilliantly on the creative process, following their peripatetic author from Paris to Morocco to Italy and back home to America as he crosses paths with Picasso, Cocteau, Gide, Boulez, and other luminaries of the era.

With consummate skill and unexpurgated insight, a younger, wilder Rorem reflects on a bygone time and culture and, in doing so, holds a revealing mirror to himself.

ABOUT Ned Rorem

  • BIOGRAPHY

    Ned Rorem is one of the most accomplished and prolific composers of art songs in the world. Drawing on a wide range of poetry and prose as inspiration, his sources have included works by Walt Whitman, W. H. Auden, Paul Goodman, Frank O’Hara, Gertrude Stein, Adrienne Rich, John Ashbery, and Paul Monette. In 1976, Rorem received the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his orchestral work Air Music. His prodigious literary accomplishments include the publication of thirteen books, nine of which were released as ebooks by Open Road Media in the summer of 2013. Rorem lives in New York City.

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