studied at the Curtis Institute and the Juilliard School of Music and received private instruction from Virgil Thompson and David Diamond
. After winning a Fulbright in 1949, Rorem
left for Paris to study composition with Honeggar. He then moved to Morocco to devote himself to serious composition. He began to set his favorite literature to songs, the area in which he was to earn his fame. After another period in Paris where he enjoyed personal popularity, Rorem
returned to the USA to continue his compositional career. Although he is most known for his song cycles, Rorem
also composed instrumental, orchestral and music for combinations of voice and instruments. He experimented with modal and polymodal techniques in addition to the use of tone clusters and altered chords. Since 1958 he has avoided large-scale orchestral works and has concentrated on extended cyclic forms. He won the Pulitzer Prize in music for Air Music in 1976.