In the mid-twentieth century renowned musicologist, conductor, and lexicographer Nicolas Slonimsky traveled to cities throughout the world to play and conduct music of the American avant-garde. From trips to Paris, Berlin, Havana, New York, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, and Moscow, Slonimsky wrote letters to his wife, the art critic Dorothy Adlow, vividly and humorously describing his adventures.
University of Rochester Press' Dear Dorothy: Letters from Nicolas Slonimsky to Dorothy Adlow edited by Electra Slonimsky Yourke is a 328 page, profusely illustrated collection of these missives. Though personal, they chronicle Slonimsky's work as an ambassador of modern music who introduced twentieth-century composers, particularly American composers, to audiences worldwide. Full of his admired wit and energy, the letters recount his performances, rehearsals, lectures, day-to-day activities in foreign cities and concert halls, and the anxieties of stretching limited funds to cover an ever-expanding itinerary. They also reveal a side of Slonimsky not seen from his other published writings: a man with deep devotion to his wife and family.