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Fine Composer

The life and music of American composer Irving Fine (1914-1962) are examined in a new book, "Irving Fine: An American Composer in His Time," by author, composer and pianist Phillip Ramey.

Irving Fine and Rosendo E. Santos Jr., Tanglewood, 1956 Irving Fine, Aaron Copland, Nadia Boulanger, Walter Piston at the Old France Restaurant, Boston, 1945

The book is published by Pendragon Press in association with the Music Division of the Library of Congress, which collaborated with the Fine family to bring the project to fruition. Photographs and other materials in the Music Division's Irving Fine Collection and companion Web site served as a resource for the biography. The book is also based on the reminiscences of the composer's family, friends and professional colleagues.

Born in Boston, Fine's musical growth stemmed from not only his musical and creative intellect but also his personal and professional relationships with Aaron Copland and four other "Boston School" composers - Leonard Bernstein, Lukas Foss, Harold Shapero and Arthur Berger. The uniqueness of these relationships, with their interpersonal and creative camaraderie, makes a moving and compelling story of the beginnings of truly American music.

"Irving Fine: An American Composer in His Time," a 334-page hardcover book, is available for $32 in bookstores nationwide and in the Library of Congress Sales Shop, Washington, DC 20540-4985. Credit card orders are taken at (888) 682-3557. Also, orders can be placed online.

The Library's Web site is an excellent resource on American music. The "Music, Theater & Dance" digital library features scores, sheet music, audio recordings, films, photographs, maps, and other materials. Also, in American Memory, there are more than 30 thematic collections that contain music materials. Some collections even offer sound recordings. In addition to the "Irving Fine Collection," the careers of Fine contemporaries Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland are represented in their own presentations.


A. Joe Petrovec, photographer. Irving Fine and Rosendo E. Santos Jr., Tanglewood, 1956. Music Division. Reproduction information: From Box/Folder: scrapbook 4; Digital ID fine phot050 urn:hdl:loc.music/fine.phot050. Detail of image, which can be seen in its entirety at http://memory.loc.gov/music/fine/phot/phot050v.jpg.

B. Irving Fine, Aaron Copland, Nadia Boulanger, Walter Piston at the Old France Restaurant, Boston, 1945 [photograph]. Used by permission of Mrs. Victor Kraft, 90 Edgewood Avenue, Cranston, RI, 02905-1344.