Ned Rorem
Ned Rorem is a Pulitzer prize
Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

-winning American composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

 and diarist. He is best known and most praised for his song settings.


He was born in Richmond, Indiana
Richmond, Indiana
Richmond is a city largely within Wayne Township, Wayne County, in east central Indiana, United States, which borders Ohio. The city also includes the Richmond Municipal Airport, which is in Boston Township and separated from the rest of the city...

 and received his early education in Chicago at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools
University of Chicago Laboratory Schools
The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools is a private, co-educational day school in Chicago, Illinois. It is affiliated with the University of Chicago...

, the American Conservatory of Music
American Conservatory of Music
The American Conservatory of Music was a major American school of music founded in 1886 by John James Hattstaedt . The conservatory was incorporated as an Illinois non-profit corporation. It was located in Chicago until 1991 when its Board of Trustees — chaired by Frederic Wilbur Hickman...

 and then Northwestern University
Northwestern University
Northwestern University is a private research university in Evanston and Chicago, Illinois, USA. Northwestern has eleven undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools offering 124 undergraduate degrees and 145 graduate and professional degrees....

. Later, Rorem moved on to the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and finally the Juilliard School
Juilliard School
The Juilliard School, located at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, United States, is a performing arts conservatory which was established in 1905...

 in New York City.

In 1966 he published The Paris Diary of Ned Rorem, which, with his later diaries, has brought him some notoriety, as he is honest about his and others' sexuality, describing his relationships with Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American conductor, composer, author, music lecturer and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim...

, Noel Coward
Noël Coward
Sir Noël Peirce Coward was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise".Born in Teddington, a suburb of London, Coward attended a dance academy...

, Samuel Barber
Samuel Barber
Samuel Osborne Barber II was an American composer of orchestral, opera, choral, and piano music. His Adagio for Strings is his most popular composition and widely considered a masterpiece of modern classical music...

, and Virgil Thomson
Virgil Thomson
Virgil Thomson was an American composer and critic. He was instrumental in the development of the "American Sound" in classical music...

, and outing
Outing is the act of disclosing a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender person's true sexual orientation or gender identity without that person's consent. Outing gives rise to issues of privacy, choice, hypocrisy, and harm in addition to sparking debate on what constitutes common good in efforts...

 several others (Aldrich and Wotherspoon, eds., 2001). Rorem has written extensively about music as well. These essays are collected in anthologies such as Setting the Tone, Music From the Inside Out, and Music and People. His prose is much admired, not least for its barbed observations about such prominent musicians as Pierre Boulez
Pierre Boulez
Pierre Boulez is a French composer of contemporary classical music, a pianist, and a conductor.-Early years:Boulez was born in Montbrison, Loire, France. As a child he began piano lessons and demonstrated aptitude in both music and mathematics...

. Rorem has composed in a chromatic tonal idiom throughout his career, and he is not hesitant to attack the orthodoxies of the avant-garde.

His notable students include Daron Hagen
Daron Hagen
Daron Aric Hagen , is an American composer, conductor, pianist, educator, librettist, and stage director of contemporary classical music and opera.- Early life and education :...

. His most recent work is Wings of Friendship: Selected Letters 1944–2003, published by Shoemaker & Hoard.


  • A Childhood Miracle, 1951,opera
    Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

     in one act.
  • The Robbers, (1956), a one-act opera.
  • Miss Julie
    Miss Julie (opera)
    Miss Julie is an opera by Ned Rorem to an English libretto by Kenward Elmslie, based on the play, Miss Julie by Swedish playwright August Strindberg on the subject of the intersection of social class and illicit sexual relations in late 19th-century Sweden.-Performance history:The opera was...

  • Hearing (1966–76), opera in five scenes
  • Bertha
    Bertha (Rorem)
    Bertha is an opera in one act, with music by Ned Rorem to an English libretto by Kenneth Koch, an original work parodying Shakespeare’s histories. Rorem wrote the work originally at the request of the Metropolitan Opera Studio in the 1960s, intended as an opera for children. However, the Met...

    (1968), opera in one act.
  • The Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters (1968), three-act opera.
  • Fables (1971), five very short operas to poems by Jean de la Fontaine
    Jean de La Fontaine
    Jean de La Fontaine was the most famous French fabulist and one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th century. He is known above all for his Fables, which provided a model for subsequent fabulists across Europe and numerous alternative versions in France, and in French regional...

    . The five 'operettas' are:
    • The Animals Sick of the Plague
    • The Bird Wounded by an Arrow
    • The Fox and the Grapes
    • The Lion in Love
    • The Sun and the Frogs'.
  • Our Town
    Our Town (opera)
    Our Town is a three-act opera by composer Ned Rorem and librettist J. D. McClatchy. It is the first opera to be adapted from the Thorton Wilder play of the same name...

     (2005), first performed by the Indiana University
    Indiana University
    Indiana University is a multi-campus public university system in the state of Indiana, United States. Indiana University has a combined student body of more than 100,000 students, including approximately 42,000 students enrolled at the Indiana University Bloomington campus and approximately 37,000...

     Opera, Bloomington, in 2006. Subsequent performances have been given by Lake George Opera, Aspen Opera, University of North Carolina School of the Arts
    University of North Carolina School of the Arts
    The University of North Carolina School of the Arts , formerly the North Carolina School of the Arts, is a public coeducational arts conservatory in Winston-Salem, North Carolina that grants high school, undergraduate and graduate degrees. It is one of the seventeen constituent campuses of the...

    , Festival Opera of Walnut Creek, Catholic University of America, Juilliard Opera, Skylark Opera, Civic Opera of Kansas City, Raylynmor Opera Company, Tufts University
    Tufts University
    Tufts University is a private research university located in Medford/Somerville, near Boston, Massachusetts. It is organized into ten schools, including two undergraduate programs and eight graduate divisions, on four campuses in Massachusetts and on the eastern border of France...

    , University of South Carolina
    University of South Carolina
    The University of South Carolina is a public, co-educational research university located in Columbia, South Carolina, United States, with 7 surrounding satellite campuses. Its historic campus covers over in downtown Columbia not far from the South Carolina State House...

     University of North Texas
    University of North Texas
    The University of North Texas is a public institution of higher education and research in Denton. Founded in 1890, UNT is part of the University of North Texas System. As of the fall of 2010, the University of North Texas, Denton campus, had a certified enrollment of 36,067...

    , Shepherd School of Music
    Shepherd School of Music
    The Shepherd School of Music is a university school of music located on the campus of Rice University in Houston, Texas. Shepherd School is itself very selective, accepting overall about 10-15% of all graduate applicants and 15% of all undergraduate applicants...

    , and Baldwin–Wallace Conservatory of Music among others.

[Miss Julie and Our Town are his only full length operas.]

Symphony No. 1 (1950) [Peermusic Classical]

The First symphony is cast in four fairly brief movements: I. Maestoso II. Andantino III. Largo IV: Allegro. and is scored for full orchestra. Rorem has written of this work:

There are as many definitions of symphony as there are symphonies. In Haydn's day it usually meant an orchestral piece in four movements, of which the first was in so-called sonata form. But with Bach, and later with Beethoven through Stravinsky, Symphony means whatever the composer decides.

Symphony No. 2 (1956) [Boosey & Hawkes]

The Second Symphony is cast in 3 movements of unequal proportion; the 2nd & 3rd combined being less than half the length of the first; I. Broad, Moderate II. Tranquillo III. Allegro. The Second Symphony is probably the composer's least performed. Composed in 1956 it was only performed a handful of times and has remained dormant since 1959 until, as the composer puts it, "José Serebrier
José Serebrier
José Serebrier is a Uruguayan conductor and composer. He married American soprano Carole Farley in 1969.- Youth :Serebrier was born in Montevideo, and first conducted an orchestra at the age of eleven, while at school. The school orchestra toured the country, which meant he was able to notch up...

 resurrected" it 43 years later.

Symphony No. 3 (1958) [Boosey & Hawkes]

The Third Symphony is cast in 5 movements: I. Pasacaglia II. Allegro molto vivace III. Largo IV. Andante V. Allegro molto. It is perhaps the best known of Rorem's numbered symphonies, having been premiered by Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall, April 1959. 3 recordings have been issued over the years, though none but the most recent Naxos recording have remained in the catalogue for very long. Notable conductors of this work include: Maurice Abravanel, Leonard Bernstein, André Previn & José Serebrier. For the Naxos recording the composer noted:

Of the five movements the second was written first, the first was second, the fourth was third, the third fourth, and the last was written last. I is a Passacaglia in C, a slow overture in the grand style. II was written originally for two pianos eight years before the rest, and incorporated as the second movement of the symphony. It is a brisk and jazzy dance. III is a short, passionate page about somnambulism, full of dynamic contrast, and coming from afar. IV is a farewell to France. V is a long and fast Rondo, in itself a Concerto for Orchestra.


  • Piano Concerto No. 1 (1948), for piano & orchestra (withdrawn)
  • From an Unknown Past (1950), for voice & orchestra
  • Symphony No. 1 (1950)
  • Piano Concerto No. 2 (1951), for piano & orchestra
  • Design (1953)
  • Poemes pour la paix (1953/56), for voice & string orchestra
  • Symphony No. 2 (1956)
  • Sinfonia (1957), for orchestral winds with optional timpani, percussion and piano/celeste
  • Eagles (1958)
  • Pilgrims (1958), for string orchestra
  • Symphony No. 3 (1958)
  • Ideas (1961), for chamber/youth orchestra
  • Lions (A Dream) (1963), for jazz quartet & orchestra
  • Sun (1966), for high voice & orchestra
  • Water Music (1966), for clarinet, violin & orchestra
  • Piano Concerto No. 3 (1969), for piano & orchestra
  • Air Music (1974)
  • Assembly and Fall (1975), for oboe, trumpet, timpani, viola & orchestra
  • A Quaker Reader (1976/88), for chamber orchestra
  • Sunday Morning (1977)
  • Remembering Tommy (1979), for piano, cello & orchestra
  • After Long Silence (1982), for voice, oboe & strings
  • Violin Concerto (1984), for violin & orchestra
  • Organ Concerto (1985), for organ & chamber orchestra
  • String Symphony (1985), for string orchestra
  • Frolic (1986)
  • The Schuyler Songs (1987), for soprano & orchestra
  • Fantasy and Polka (1989)
  • Swords and Plowshares (1990), for four solo voices & orchestra
  • Piano Concerto No. 4 (1991), for piano (left hand) & orchestra
  • Concerto for English Horn (1991–92), for english horn & orchestra
  • Triptych (1992), for chamber orchestra
  • More Than A Day (1995), for soprano/countertenor & chamber orchestra
  • Waiting (1996)
  • Double Concerto (1998), for violin, cello & orchestra
  • Cello Concerto (2002), for cello & orchestra
  • Flute Concerto (2002), for flute & orchestra
  • Mallet Concerto (2003), for percussion & orchestra
  • Eleven Songs for Susan (2007), for mezzo-soprano & chamber orchestra
  • Songs Old and New (2008), for soprano & orchestra


  • Concertino de Camera (1946), for harpsichord & small ensemble
  • Mountain Song (1948), for flute/oboe/violin/cello & piano
  • Dance Suite (1949), for two pianos
  • Sicilienne (1950), for two pianos
  • Violin Sonata (1954), for violin & piano
  • Eleven Studies for Eleven Players (1959–60), for large ensemble
  • Trio (1960), for flute, cello & piano
  • Lovers (1964), for harpsichord, oboe, cello & percussion
  • Day Music (1971), for violin & piano
  • Night Music (1972), for violin & piano
  • Solemn Prelude (1973), for eleven brass
  • Book of Hours (1975), for flute & harp
  • Romeo and Juliet (1977), for flute & guitar
  • Three Slow Pieces (1978), for cello & piano
  • Whales, Weep Not! (1978), for flute & piano
  • Winter Pages (1981), for clarinet, bassoon, violin, cello & piano
  • Picnic on the Marne (1983), for alto saxophone & piano
  • Dances (1984), for cello & piano
  • Septet Scenes from Childhood (1984–85), for oboe, horn, piano & string quartet
  • The End of Summer (1985), for violin, clarinet & piano
  • Bright Music (1987), for flute, two violins, cello & piano
  • Fanfare and Flourish (1988), for two trumpets, two trombones & organ
  • Diversions (1990), for brass quintet
  • Spring Music (1990), for piano trio
  • String Quartet No. 3 (1991)
  • Songs of Sadness (1994), for voice, guitar, cello & clarinet
  • String Quartet No. 4 (1994)
  • Six Variations (1995), for two pianos - four hands
  • Autumn Music (1996–97), for violin & piano
  • An Oboe Book (1999), for oboe & piano
  • Cries and Whispers (2000), for trumpet & piano
  • Nine Episodes for Four Players (2001), for clarinet, violin, cello & piano
  • United States - Seven Viewpoints (2001), for string quartet
  • Pas de Trois (2002), for oboe, violin & piano
  • The Unquestioned Answer (2002), for flute, two violins, cello & piano
  • Four Colours (2003), for clarinet & piano
  • Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (2004), for piano quartet
  • Four Prayers (2006), for flute & piano
  • Nocturne (2007), for double bass & piano
  • A Little Fantasy (2008), for cello & piano


  • Two Poems of Edith Sitwell (1948), for medium-high voice & piano
  • Requiem (1948), for voice & piano
  • From an Unknown Past (1950), for voice & piano/orchestra
  • Cycle of Holy Songs (1951), for voice & piano
  • Flight for Heaven (1952), song-cycle for voice & piano
  • Four Dialogues (1953–54), for soprano, tenor & two pianos
  • Three Poems for Demetrios Capetanakis (1954), for voice & piano
  • Poems pour la paix (1953/56), for medium voice & strings
  • Five Poems of Walt Whitman (1957), for voice & piano
  • Two Poems of Theodore Roethke (1959) for voice & piano
  • King Midas (1961), cantata
    A cantata is a vocal composition with an instrumental accompaniment, typically in several movements, often involving a choir....

     for voice(s) & piano
  • Four Poems of Tennyson (1963), for voice & piano
  • Poems of Love and the Rain (1963), song-cycle for mezzo-soprano & piano
  • Sun (1966), for high voice & orchestra
  • Some Trees (1968), for soprano, mezzo-soprano, bass-baritone & piano
  • War Scenes (1969), for medium-low voice & piano
  • Gloria (1970), for two solo voices & piano
  • Ariel (1971), for soprano, clarinet & piano
  • Last Poems of Wallace Stevens (1971–72), for voice, cello & piano
  • Serenade on Five English Poems (1975), for mezzo-soprano, violin, viola & piano
  • Women's Voices (1975–76), for soprano & piano
  • Santa Fe Songs (1980), for baritone, string trio & piano
  • After Long Silence (1982), for soprano, oboe & strings
  • Three Calamus Poems (1982), for baritone & piano
  • The Schuyler Songs (1987), for soprano & orchestra
  • The Auden Poems (1989), for tenor & piano trio
  • Swords and Plowshares (1990), for solo voices & orchestra
  • My Sad Captains (1995), for soprano, alto, tenor, bass & piano
  • Evidence of Things Not Seen (1997), thirty-six songs for soprano, alto, tenor, baritone & piano
  • Another Sleep (2000), song-cycle for medium voice & piano
  • Two Sermons (2001), for voice, clarinet, violin, double bass & piano
  • Aftermath (2001–02), song-cycle for baritone, violin, cello & piano
  • Sound the Flute (2004), for high voice, recorder & piano
  • Eleven Songs for Susan (2007), for mezzo-soprano & chamber orchestra
  • Three Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay (2007), for voice & piano
  • Songs Old and New (2008), for soprano & orchestra
  • Four Sonnets of Shakespeare (2008), for tenor & piano
  • Sonnet 144 (Two Loves I Have) (2010), for soprano, mezzo-soprano & piano

Selected Songs

[All with piano accompaniment, except where stated otherwise.]
  • Alleluia (1946)
  • Spring and Fall (1946)
  • Spring (1947)
  • Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (1947)
  • The Lordly Hudson (1947)
  • Echo's Song (1948)
  • Little Elegy (1949)
  • Rain in Spring (1949)
  • The Silver Swan (1949)
  • The Sleeping Palace (1949)
  • What If Some Little Pain (1949)
  • Julia's Clothes (1950)
  • Lullaby of the Woman of the Mountain (1950)
  • To the Willow Tree (1950)
  • Love in a Life (1951)
  • O Do Not Love Too Long (1951)
  • The Call (1951)
  • The Nightingale (1951)
  • To a Young Girl (1951)
  • A Christmas Carol (1952)
  • Clouds (1953)
  • Cradle Song (1953)
  • For Susan (1953)
  • In a Gondola (1953)
  • Love (1953)
  • Ode (1953)
  • Pippa's Song (1953)
  • Sally's Smile (1953)
  • Song for a Girl (1953)
  • The Tulip Tree (1953)
  • The Midnight Sun (1953)
  • Early in the Morning (1954)
  • Youth, Day, Old Age and Night (1954)
  • I Am Rose (1955)
  • I Will Always Love You (1955)
  • See How They Love Me (1956)
  • What Sparks and Wiry Cries (1956)
  • Conversation (1957)
  • Gliding O'er All (1957)
  • Gods (1957)
  • Look Down, Fair Moon (1957)
  • O You to Whom I Often and Silently Come (1957)
  • Reconciliation (1957)
  • Sometimes With One I Love (1957)
  • Such Beauty as Hurts to Behold (1957)
  • To You (1957)
  • Visits to St. Elizabeth's (1957)
  • I Strolled Across an Open Field (1959)
  • Memory (1959)
  • My Papa's Waltz (1959)
  • Night Crow (1959)
  • Orchids (1959)
  • Root Cellar (1959)
  • Snake (1959)
  • The Waking (1959)
  • Do I love you more than a day? (1962)
  • Ask Me No More (1963)
  • Far-Far-Away (1963)
  • For Poulenc (1963)
  • Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal (1963)
  • The Sleeping Palace (1963)
  • That Shadow, My Likeness (1963)
  • To You (1970)
  • Trickle Drops (1970)
  • The Serpent (1972)
  • We Never Said Farewell (1975–76)
  • A Journey (1976)
  • Ferry me across the water (1978)
  • From When Cometh Song? (1978)
  • The Dance (1978)
  • Nantucket (1978–79)
  • Go, Lovely Rose (1979)
  • The Dancer (1979)
  • Up-Hill (1979)
  • Back to Life (1980) [accomp. double bass]
  • Sonnet (1980) [accomp. piano quartet]
  • The Sowers (1980) [accomp. piano quartet]
  • The Wintry Mind (1980)
  • Let's Take a Walk (1981)
  • Anna la Bonne (1989)
  • Are You the New Person? (1989)
  • Full of Life Now (1989)
  • I Will Always Love You (1990)
  • A Dream of Nightingales (1992)
  • Their Lonely Betters (1992)
  • Somewhere... (1994)
  • Three Women (1994)
  • Remembrance of Things Past (1998)
  • Chromatic Fantasy (2001)
  • He Will Not Hear (2001)
  • I Never Knew (2001)
  • The End (2003)
  • While Sodom Was Occupied (2004)
  • The Stars Have Not Dealt (2007)
  • A Poison Tree (2007)
  • Death and the Young Man (2007)
  • Wild Nights (2007)


  • The Seventieth Psalm (1943), for S.A.T.B. choir & wind ensemble
  • A Sermon on Miracles (1947), for soprano solo, unison choir & strings
  • Four Madrigals (1947), for a cappella S.A.T.B. choir
  • Three Incantations from a Marionette Tale (1948), for unison choir & piano
  • From an Unknown Past (1950), for S.A.T.B. choir & orchestra
  • I Feel Death... (1953), for three-part a cappella male choir
  • The Poets' Requiem (1954–55), soprano solo, S.A.T.B. choir & orchestra
  • All Glorious God (1955), for a cappella S.A.T.B. choir
  • Sing, My Soul, His Wondrous Love (1955), for a cappella S.A.T.B. choir
  • Miracles of Christmas (1959), for S.A.T.B. choir & organ
  • Prayers and Responses (1960), for a cappella S.A.T.B. choir
  • Virelai (1961), for a cappella S.A.T.B. choir
  • Two Psalms and a Proverb (1962), for S.A.T.B. choir & string quartet
  • Lift up your Heads (The Ascension) (1963), for S.A.T.B. choir, eight wind, nine brass & timpani
  • Laudemus Tempus Actum (1964), for S.A.T.B. choir & orchestra
  • Letters from Paris (1966), for S.A.T.B. choir & orchestra
  • Love Divine, All Loves Excelling (1966), for a cappella S.A.T.B. choir
  • Proper for the Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit (1966), for unison choir & organ
  • Truth in the Night Season (1966), for S.A.T.B. choir & organ
  • He Shall Rule from Sea to Sea (1967), for S.A.T.B. choir & organ
  • Praises for the Nativity (1970), for soprano, alto, tenor & bass soli, S.A.T.B. choir & organ
  • Canticle of the Lamb (1971), for a cappella S.A.T.B. choir
  • Canticles: Sets 1 & 2 (1971–72), for a cappella S.A.T.B. choir
  • Four Hymns (1973), for S.A.T.B. choir & keyboard
  • In Time of Pestilence (1973), for a cappella S.A.T.B. choir
  • Little Prayers (1973), for soprano & baritone soli, S.A.T.B. choir & orchestra
  • Missa Brevis (1973), for soprano, alto, tenor & bass soli, & S.A.T.B. choir
  • Prayer to Jesus (1973), for a cappella S.A.T.B. choir
  • Three Motets (1973), for S.A.T.B. choir & organ
  • Three Prayers (1973), for a cappella S.A.T.B. choir
  • Surge Illuminare (1977), for S.A.T.B. choir & organ
  • Three Choruses for Christmas (1978), for a cappella S.A.T.B. choir
  • Give All to Love (1981), for two-part choir & piano
  • Little Lamb, Who Made Thee? (1982), for S.A.T.B. choir & organ
  • Praise the Lord, O My Soul (1982), for S.A.T.B. choir & organ
  • An American Oratorio (1983), for tenor solo, S.A.T.B. choir & orchestra
  • Mercy and Truth Are Met (1983), for S.A.T.B. choir & organ
  • Whitman Cantata (1983), for S.A.T.B. choir, brass ensemble & timpani
  • Pilgrim Strangers (1984), for six a cappella male voices
  • Before the Morning Star (1986), for a cappella S.A.T.B. choir
  • Homer (1986), for S.A.T.B. choir & ensemble
  • Seven Motets for the Church Year (1986), for a cappella S.A.T.B. choir
  • Three Poems of Baudelaire (1986), for a cappella S.A.T.B. choir
  • Te Deum (1986–87), for S.A.T.B. choir, two trumpets, two trombones & organ
  • Five Armenian Love Songs (1987), for a cappella S.A.T.B. choir
  • The Death of Moses (1987), for S.A.T.B. choir & organ
  • What is Pink? (1987), for treble choir & piano
  • Goodbye My Fancy (1988), for alto & baritone soli, S.A.T.B. choir & orchestra
  • Lead Kindly Light (1988), for a cappella S.A.T.B. choir
  • Breathe On Me (1989), for a cappella S.A.T.B. choir
  • Love Alone (1989), for male-voice choir & piano duet
  • Christ is made the sure foundation (1992), for S.A.T.B. choir & organ
  • Festival Alleluia (1992), for a cappella S.A.T.B. choir
  • O God, My Heart is Ready (1992), for S.A.T.B. choir & organ
  • Spirit Divine (1992), for S.A.T.B. choir & organ
  • Present Laughter (1993), for S.A.T.B. choir, brass quintet & piano
  • How Lovely is your Dwelling Place (1994), for S.A.T.B. choir & piano/organ
  • Exaltabo Te, Domine (1995), for S.A.T.B. choir & keyboard
  • Four Introits (1999), for S.A.T.B. choir & keyboard
  • We Are the Music Makers (2003), for S.A.T.B. choir & piano
  • A Song of Hosea (2005), for S.A.T.B. choir & organ
  • Four Sonnets (2005), for S.A.T.B. choir & piano
  • Ode to Man (2005), for a cappella S.A.T.B. choir
  • Afternoon on a Hill (2006), for two-part children's choir & piano
  • Two Shakespearean Poems (2008), for S.A.T.B. choir & piano

Solo Instrumental

  • Fantasy and Toccata (1946), for organ
  • Sonata No. 1 (1948), for piano
  • A Quiet Afternoon (1948), for piano
  • Barcarolles (1949), for piano
  • Pastorale (1949), for organ
  • Sonata No. 2 (1949), for piano
  • Sonata No. 3 (1954), for piano
  • Spiders (1968), for harpsichord
  • Eight Etudes (1975), for piano
  • A Quaker Reader (1976), for organ
  • Sky Music (1976), for harp
  • After Reading Shakespeare (1980), for cello
  • Suite (1980), for guitar
  • Views from the Oldest House (1981), for organ
  • Song and Dance (1986), for piano
  • For Shirley (1989), for piano duet
  • Organbook I. (1989), for organ
  • Organbook II. (1989), for organ
  • Organbook III. (1989), for organ
  • Six Pieces (1997), for organ
  • 99 Notes for the Millenium (1999), for piano
  • For Ben (1999), for piano
  • Recalling (2003), for piano
  • Soundpoints (2003), for piano
  • For Barbara (2006), for piano
  • For Don (2006), for piano
  • For Marian (2006), for piano
  • For Mary (2006), for piano
  • For Rosemary (2006), for piano
  • 75 Notes for Jerry (2007), for piano

Current/Recent Projects

Rorem is currently working on a saxophone concerto for Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis is an American saxophonist, composer and bandleader. While primarily known for his work in jazz as the leader of the Branford Marsalis Quartet, he also performs frequently as a soloist with classical ensembles and has led the group Buckshot LeFonque.-Biography:Marsalis was born...

. He has just been commissioned - 2010 - to write a piece for clarinet, cello and piano for clarinetist Thomas Piercy
Thomas Piercy
Thomas Piercy is an American clarinetist based in New York City. Although he studied in the United States, his playing style is heavily influenced by the English school of clarinet playing by his extensive studies with English clarinet virtuoso Gervase de Peyer.He has been cited by the New York...

. He has recently written Four Sonnets of Shakespeare for tenor Andrew Kennedy
Andrew Kennedy
Andrew Kennedy was a U.S. Representative from Indiana, cousin of Case Broderick.Born in Dayton, Ohio, Kennedy moved with his parents to a farm on the Indian reserve near Lafayette, Indiana. He soon afterward moved to Connersville, Indiana, where he became a blacksmith's apprentice. Kennedy...

, which premières at Wigmore Hall
Wigmore Hall
Wigmore Hall is a leading international recital venue that specialises in hosting performances of chamber music and is best known for classical recitals of piano, song and instrumental music. It is located at 36 Wigmore Street, London, UK and was built to provide London with a venue that was both...

, London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 on September 27, 2009, and a song-cycle Songs Old and New, written in 2008 for soprano Mary Wilson and premièred by Wilson and the IRIS Chamber Orchestra under Michael Stern
Michael Stern (conductor)
Michael Stern is a noted American symphony conductor. Currently, he serves as the music director and lead conductor of the Kansas City Symphony in Kansas City, Missouri. He is also the founding music director of the IRIS Orchestra in Germantown, Tennessee.- Early life and education :Stern is the...

 in November of last year.


Recordings include:
  • Songs of Ned Rorem Susan Graham
    Susan Graham
    Susan Graham is an American mezzo-soprano.Raised in Midland, Texas, she is a graduate of Texas Tech University and the Manhattan School of Music. She studied the piano for 13 years...

     (mezzo) Malcolm Martineau
    Malcolm Martineau
    Malcolm Martineau is a Scottish pianist.- Biography :Born in Edinburgh, and educated at George Watson's College, Malcolm Martineau read Music at St Catharine's College, Cambridge...

     (piano) Rorem's settings of poems by Paul Goodman
    Paul Goodman (writer)
    Paul Goodman was an American sociologist, poet, writer, anarchist, and public intellectual. Goodman is now mainly remembered as the author of Growing Up Absurd and an activist on the pacifist Left in the 1960s and an inspiration to that era's student movement...

    , Theodore Roethke
    Theodore Roethke
    Theodore Roethke was an American poet, who published several volumes of poetry characterized by its rhythm, rhyming, and natural imagery. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1954 for his book, The Waking.-Biography:...

    , Witter Bynner
    Witter Bynner
    Harold Witter Bynner was an American poet, writer and scholar, known for his long residence in Santa Fe, New Mexico, at what is now the Inn of the Turquoise Bear.-Early life:...

    , Tennyson
    Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson
    Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, FRS was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom during much of Queen Victoria's reign and remains one of the most popular poets in the English language....

    , Walt Whitman
    Walt Whitman
    Walter "Walt" Whitman was an American poet, essayist and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse...

     and others. Erato
    Erato Records
    Erato Records is a record label founded in 1953 to promote French classical music. In 1992 it became part of Warner Bros. Records. In 1999 Erato launched a subsidiary Detour Records....

  • Songs of Ned Rorem with Charles Bressler
    Charles Bressler
    Charles Bressler was an American tenor.He was born in Kingston, Pennsylvania and studied at Juilliard. He became a founding member of the New York Pro Musica, with which he toured from 1953-1963...

     (tenor) Phyllis Curtin
    Phyllis Curtin
    Phyllis Curtin is an American classical soprano who had an active career in operas and concerts from the early 1950s through the 1980s. She was known for her creation of new roles such as the title role in the Carlisle Floyd opera Susannah, Catherine Earnshaw in Floyd's Wuthering Heights, and in...

     (soprano) Gianna d'Angelo
    Gianna d'Angelo
    Gianna D'Angelo , is an American coloratura soprano, primarily active in the 1950s and 1960s.Born Jane Angelovich in Hartford, Connecticut, she studied first at The Juilliard School in New York City with Giuseppe De Luca...

     (soprano) Donald Gramm
    Donald Gramm
    Donald Gramm was an American bass-baritone whose career was divided between opera and concert performances. His appearances were primarily limited to the United States, which at the time was unusual for an American singer...

     (bass) Regina Sarfaty
    Regina Sarfaty
    Regina Sarfaty is an American operatic mezzo-soprano who had an active career during the 1950s through the 1980s. Sarfaty first rose to prominence through her work at the Santa Fe Opera and the New York City Opera during the late 1950s...

     (mezzo-soprano) Accompanied at the piano by the composer
  • Three Symphonies José Serebrier
    José Serebrier
    José Serebrier is a Uruguayan conductor and composer. He married American soprano Carole Farley in 1969.- Youth :Serebrier was born in Montevideo, and first conducted an orchestra at the age of eleven, while at school. The school orchestra toured the country, which meant he was able to notch up...

    , Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
    Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
    The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra is an English orchestra. Originally based in Bournemouth, the BSO moved its offices to the adjacent town of Poole in 1979....

    . Naxos Records
    Naxos Records
    Naxos Records is a record label specializing in classical music. Through a number of imprints, Naxos also releases genres including Chinese music, jazz, world music, and early rock & roll. The company was founded in 1987 by Klaus Heymann, a German-born resident of Hong Kong.Naxos is the largest...

  • "Gotham Ensemble Plays Ned Rorem" Thomas Piercy
    Thomas Piercy
    Thomas Piercy is an American clarinetist based in New York City. Although he studied in the United States, his playing style is heavily influenced by the English school of clarinet playing by his extensive studies with English clarinet virtuoso Gervase de Peyer.He has been cited by the New York...

    , clarinet, Rolf Shulte, violin, Judith Olson, piano, Angelina Réaux, soprano, Humbert Lucarelli, oboe, Delores Stevens, piano. Albany Records
  • Day Music, Jaime Laredo
    Jaime Laredo
    Jaime Laredo is a violinist and conductor. Currently the conductor and Music Director of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, he began his musical career when he was five years old. In 1948 he came to North America and took lessons from Antonio DeGrass...

     (violin), Ruth Laredo
    Ruth Laredo
    Ruth Laredo was an American classical pianist.She became known in the 1970s in particular for her premiere recordings of the 10 sonatas of Scriabin and the complete solo piano works of Rachmaninoff, for her Ravel recordings and in the last 16½ years before her death for her series in the...

     (piano); Night Music: Earl Carlyss (violin), Ann Schein (piano). CD, Phoenix USA PHCD123, 1991


  • 1951 - Fulbright Fellowship
  • 1957 - Guggenheim Fellowship
    Guggenheim Fellowship
    Guggenheim Fellowships are American grants that have been awarded annually since 1925 by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to those "who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts." Each year, the foundation makes...

  • 1968 - Award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters
  • 1976 - Pulitzer Prize
    Pulitzer Prize
    The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

     for his suite Air Music
  • 1998 - Musical America
    Musical America
    Musical America is the oldest American magazine on classical music. Presently it is a website with a weekly online magazine. It is currently published by UBM Global Trade.-History:...

     Composer of the Year
  • 2003 - ASCAP’s Lifetime Achievement Award,
  • 2004 - Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters

External links

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