Ned Rorem is a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and a diarist. He has been described by Time Magazine as “the leading American composer of Art Songs”. His diaries chronicle the music and art worlds of Paris and New York from the late 1940’s to the present.
Ned Rorem first met Norris Embry when they were growing up in the Chicago area in the 1930’s. Their network of talented friends, witnesses to the city’s vibrant avant-garde, were musicians, writers, poets and artists. They both went on to become frequent travellers to Post World War II Europe, as well as prolific letter writers.
Their paths continued to cross throughout Embry’s lifetime, both directly and indirectly through mutual friends. Rorem last saw Embry in the late 1970’s when Rorem went to Baltimore to acquire several Embry works.
In his memoire Knowing When To Stop, Rorem evokes Embry in a series of vignettes from their Chicago days in the 1930’s, to their Paris sejourns in the 1950’s. More than once, Rorem pays tribute to Embry’s keen knowledge of literature and poetry that inspired Rorem’s own songwriting.
The Norris Embry Estate is grateful to Mr. Rorem for this contribution.
Please continue here for selected excerpts of Knowing When to Stop.
Visit website: www.nedrorem.com
Photograph by Claudia Kronenberg