Dear Gabriele -
On November 18, the Pulitzer Prize winning- composer Ned Rorem died at age 99. He had been commissioned by Loretta Dranoff to compose the required piece for the 1995 two piano competition.
In an article talking about his exploration of great contemporary music and evolution of genres, he stated that there could not be excitement about repetition of hundreds of years old European classical music without a commitment to different genres and heritage of music, and presentation of newly created works that will be allowed to be recognized as great art.
Ned Rorem first gained fame as a composer of art songs. By the time Mr. Rorem was 40, he had written more than 400 such songs, as well as three symphonies, several one-act operas and a great deal of chamber music, making him one of America’s most prolific composers. He won the Pulitzer Prize for composition in 1976 for “Air Music,” an orchestral suite.
Although he always considered himself a “composer who also writes, not a writer who also composes,” his diaries and other autobiographical works have reached a large general audience. They are joined by books of criticism and collections of his letters. In the early 2000’s, he served as president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Further, he was an inspiring teacher who taught for many years at the Curtis Institute. A life fully lived. A man with many strong opinions. And a great composer in the lineup of contemporary American music.
This relationship with Ned Rorem very much echoes Dranoff2’s long-standing commitment to commissioning top composers of today and emerging artists of various backgrounds and identities, such as Chucho Valdes, Gabriela Lena Frank, Manuel Valera, Martin Bejerano.
Have a splendid week!
The Dranoff 2 Piano Foundation