David Del Tredici

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David Del Tredici, born March 16, 1937 in Cloverdale, California, is an American composer. According to Del Tredici's website, Aaron Copland said David Del Tredici "is that rare find among composers — a creator with a truly original gift. I venture to say that his music is certain to make a lasting impression on the American musical scene."[1]

After making his piano debut with the San Francisco Symphony at 17,[2] he went on to receive a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.F.A. in 1964 from Princeton University, studying with composers Earl Kim, Seymour Shifrin, and Roger Sessions.

Much of his early work consisted of elaborate vocal settings of James Joyce (e.g. I Hear an Army, Night Conjure-Verse, and Syzygy) and a decade long obsession with the work of Lewis Carroll (e.g. Pop-Pourri, An Alice Symphony, Vintage Alice, Adventures Underground, and Final Alice). Del Tredici was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for In Memory of a Summer Day, the first part of Child Alice, recorded by Phyllis Bryn-Julson and the Saint Louis Symphony conducted by Leonard Slatkin for the Nonesuch label. Sir Georg Solti made the first recording of his epic Final Alice[3]" with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. His later works have included vocal settings of contemporary poets such as Allen Ginsberg, Thom Gunn, Paul Monette, James Broughton, Colette Inez, and Alfred Corn, often celebrating a gay sensibility (e.g. Gay Life, Love Addiction, and Wondrous the Merge [4]). Out Magazine has twice named him one of its people of the year. While trained in serial technique, Del Tredici now writes in a tonal style; he is one of the clearest exemplars of neoromanticism.

In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, he has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship and Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, a Brandeis Creative Arts Award, a Friedheim Award, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and election to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. His works are regularly commissioned by major orchestras in America and abroad. His On Wings of Song was premiered in New York City in 2004 as part of the Riverside Opera Ensemble's 20th Anniversary Concert. In 2012, the Cleveland Institute of Music honored Del Tredici with a New Music Series event to celebrate his 75th birthday. The CIM Orchestra, guest conducted by Steven Smith, performed In Memory of a Summer Day, featuring solo soprano Jung Eun Oh.

A distinguished Professor of Music at The City College of New York, Del Tredici makes his home in Greenwich Village.

Notable students[edit]

Notable works[edit]


  1. ^ Pollack, Henry. Aaron Copland: The Life & Work of an Uncommon Man. Henry Holt and Co. p. 209. ISBN 0805049096. 
  2. ^ Del Tredici bio at City College, New York cuny.edu
  3. ^ Freed, Richard. "Final Alice, about the composition" The Kennedy Center.
  4. ^ Dalton, Joseph. "Del Tredici’s Wondrous the Merge" MyBigGayEars blog

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