Playwright, Composer, Author, Activist. B.A. in Music, Reed College, Portland, Oregon. Robert Chesley is best remembered as a playwright, though he was also an author, critic, and composer. He was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, and taught in private schools in upstate New York for nearly ten years before settling in New York City in 1976. He relocated to San Francisco in the early 1980s where he became a part of the gay theater scene. Chesley composed during the ten-year period 1965 to 1975 and his compositions were almost exclusively for voice. Between 1966 and 1970 he composed 53 songs, mostly to texts by American poets including Emily Dickinson, Willa Cather, and James Agee, and including sixteen settings of the British poet Walter de la Mare. There are also several choral works from the 1970s, with texts by Gertrude Stein and Walt Whitman among others. His few instrumental works include the score to a 1972 film by Erich Kollmar, the “Sonata for Guitar and Harpsichord” (1974), and the “Little Concerto for Two Flutes and String Orchestra” (1968), which was revived in 1991 in a Benson Series concert of Downtown Music Productions, conducted by Mimi Stern-Wolfe. The transformation of Robert Chesley, composer, to Robert Chesley, playwright, roughly coincided with his move to San Francisco. In 1984 the city’s Theatre Rhinoceros produced his first one act, HELL, I LOVE YOU and in 1984 Chesley’s NIGHT SWEAT became the first produced full-length play to deal with AIDS. In all, Chesley wrote ten full-length and twenty-one one-act plays. Several works were premiered posthumously, and all of his major plays have been published. Robert Chesley died of AIDS in San Francisco at the age of 47 on December 5, 1990.