The World Got Away

A Memoir
Author: Mikel Rouse
Foreword by Kyle Gann
Looking back on a life in the artistic trenches
Cloth – $110
Paper – $24.95
eBook – $14.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 05/21/2024
Cloth: 05/21/2024
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About the Book

One of the most innovative composers of his generation, Mikel Rouse is known for a trilogy of operas that includes Dennis Cleveland and a gift for superimposing pop vernaculars onto avant-garde music. This memoir channels Rouse’s high energy personality into an exuberant account of the precarity and pleasures of artistic creation. Raconteur and starving artist, witty observer and acclaimed musician, Rouse emerged from the legendary art world of 1980s New York to build a forty-year career defined by stage and musical successes, inexhaustible creativity, and a support network of famous faces, loyal allies, and high-art hustlers. Rouse guides readers through a working artists’ hardscrabble life while illuminating the unromantic truth that a project’s reception may depend on a talented cast and crew but can depend on reliable air conditioning.

Candid and hilarious, The World Got Away is a one-of-a-kind account of a creative life fueled by talent, work, and luck.

About the Author

Mikel Rouse is a New York-based composer, director, performer and recording artist hailed as “a composer many believe to be the best of his generation.” (NY Times) His works include 40 records, 7 films (including Funding and Music For Minorities), and a trilogy of media operas: Failing Kansas, Dennis Cleveland, and The End Of Cinematics. His work has frequently appeared on Top Ten lists around the country. He has received commissions from the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust and the Meet the Composer/Reader's Digest Commissioning Program. Rouse's compositions have been performed at Lincoln Center, the New York State Theater, and Alice Tully Hall, and throughout the United States and Europe.



“Mikel Rouse is an artist in his own league; his creative output is outstanding. As a particular fan of his lyrics, I’m really looking forward to how he uses words in prose.”--Kathy Valentine, the Go-Go’s and author of All I Ever Wanted: A Rock ‘n' Roll Memoir

“Mikel Rouse is a composer, songwriter and performer of tireless inspiration, a true maestro. He is also an unpretentious expert at life and how to live it. This delightful book is engaging, funny, a great reflection of and meditation on Mikel’s many passions. But above all, it’s refreshingly candid and specific about how a maverick artist manages a creative life. Where other musicians serve up a lot of ‘look into your heart’ gobbledygook, Rouse gets down to the nitty gritty about putting together his various ambitious projects. It isn’t always pretty. But the work itself--and this book is of course a part of it--is always beautiful.”--Glenn Kenny, author of Made Men: The Story of Goodfellas

“Mikel Rouse offers a dizzying, kaleidoscopic portrait--not of an artist, exactly, but of the scene(s) that surrounded him, made him, and threatened to unmake him. Full of surprising detours (fast food! off-track betting! town rivalries in New Zealand!), Rouse’s memoir goes careering through scenes from his four-plus decades of music-making."--John Schaefer, host, New Sounds and Soundcheck