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Virgil Thomson: Composer on the Aisle

by Anthony Tommasini

In the first full-scale biography of a dominating figure in twentieth-century American music, Anthony Tommasini tells the richly textured story of Virgil Thomson's experiences as a composer, influential critic, and gay man. Writing with exclusive, full access to Thomson's papers and from extensive interviews and research, he recounts: Thomson's early years in turn-of-the-century Kansas City's strange mixture of antebellum racial divides. . . his first steps in the arts, guided by a troubled older man, himself a closeted homosexual in a time when disclosure could destroy a life. . . the crystallizing of his musical ambitions as an often-contentious student of Nadia Boulanger's in Paris. . . his pioneering collaboration with Gertrude Stein on Four Saints in Three Acts. . . his rivalry with fellow composers such as Aaron Copland. . . how he settled personal scores and advanced his own agenda during his reign on the New York Herald Tribune as America's most important, and best, music critic. . . his lasting impact on, and sometimes troubled interactions with, younger composers such as Leonard Bernstein, John Cage, Paul Bowles, Ned Rorem, and Philip Glass. . . and through it all the unending struggle to write, and win an audience for, music that spoke directly and simply to the life of his time. --BOOK JACKET. Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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