A thrilling, poignant, and bold memoir of the early years and accomplishments—both musical and sexual—of renowned contemporary composer Ned Rorem
Ned Rorem, arguably the greatest composer of art songs that America has produced in more than a hundred years, is also revered as a diarist and essayist whose unexpurgated writings are at once enthralling, enlightening, and provocative. In Knowing When to Stop, one of the most creative American artists of our time offers readers a colorful narrative of his first twenty-seven years, expertly unraveling the intriguing conundrum of who he truly is and how he came to be that way. As the author himself writes, “A memoir is not a diary. Diaries are written in the heat of battle, memoirs in the repose of retrospect.” But careful thought and consideration have not dulled the sharp point of Rorem’s pen as he writes openly of his life and loves, his missteps and triumphs, and offers frank and fascinating portraits of the luminaries in his circle: Aaron Copland, Truman Capote, Jean Cocteau, Martha Graham, Igor Stravinsky, Billie Holliday, Paul Bowles, and Alfred C. Kinsey, to name a few. The result is an early life story that is riveting, moving, and intimate—a magnificent self-portrait of one of the great minds of this age.