Virgil Thomson was a gifted composer and one of the nation’s foremost cultural critics. The best-selling autobiography Virgil Thomson (1966) is his gossipy telling of his own extraordinary progress from unteachable smart aleck to revered elder statesman. It recounts his artistically precocious Kansas City boyhood, demanding Harvard education, apprenticeship in Paris between the wars, and hard-won musical and literary maturity in New York.
As narrator and protagonist, Thomson fascinates not only with his own story but also with those of his associates, collaborators, friends, and rivals, among them Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Nadia Boulanger, George Antheil, Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Max Jacob, Pare Lorentz, John Houseman, and Orson Welles. Virgil Thomson is an authentic work of Americana and a first-rate, first-person history of the rise of modernism.
Complete with 32 pages of photographs.
Library of America; October 2016
- ISBN 9781598534764
- Available for download in secure EPUB format
- Title: Virgil Thomson
- Author: Virgil Thomson
Imprint: Library of America
About The Author
Virgil Thomson (1896-1989) was a gifted composer and, as the chief music reviewer for the New York Herald Tribune from 1940 to 1954, one of the nation’s foremost cultural critics. Among his most famous works are the operas Four Saints in Three Acts and The Mother of Us All (both with texts by Gertrude Stein), scores to "The Plow That Broke the Plains" and "The River" (films by Pare Lorentz), and "Louisiana Story" (film by Robert Flaherty), and the books The State of Music and Virgil Thomson, an autobiography.