Music: Out of the Fashion

After four years in Europe on three different fellowships, the young American composer Benjamin Lees was fast approaching the day when he would become a public trust. He labored quietly over his compositions, as first Guggenheim, then Copley, then Fulbright supported him. He wrote a symphony and some chamber music, but the peak of his abstraction came in 1958, when he spent eight months writing a violin concerto. Lacking a virtuoso to play it, he stuffed it away in a steamer trunk.

But last week Composer Lees heard his notes turned to music. Violinist...

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