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]

  • Soliloquy for piano solo (1958)
  • Six Songs for voice and piano (text by James Joyce) (1959)
  • Scherzo for piano, four hands (1960)
  • I Hear An Army (text by James Joyce) (1964)
  • Pot-Pourri for amplified soprano, rock group, chorus, and orchestra (1968)
  • Syzygy for soprano, horn, and orchestra (1966)
  • An Alice Symphony for amplified soprano, folk group, and orchestra. Texts from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll; Speak Gently attributed to David Bates (1969)
  • Adventures Underground soprano and orchestra. Texts from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1971)
  • Final Alice, an opera in concert form for soprano, folk ensemble, and orchestra (1976)
  • Child Alice ("In Memory of a Summer Day", "Happy Voices", "In the Golden Afternoon", "Quaint Events") for soprano and orchestra (1980–81)
  • Haddock's Eyes for soprano and 10 instruments (1985)
  • Tattoo for orchestra (1986)
  • Steps for orchestra (1990)
  • Dum Dee Tweedle opera in one act and five scenes (1992)
  • Lament for the Death of a Bullfighter for soprano and piano - poems of Joshua Beckman (1998)
  • My Favorite Penis Poems (1998)
  • Dracula (1999) - on a poem of Alfred Corn
  • Three Baritone Songs (1999)
  • Miz Inez Sez for soprano and piano - poems of Colette Inez (1998)
  • Gay Life (1996–2000)
  • The Spider and The Fly for high soprano, high baritone, and orchestra (1998)
  • Wonderous The Merge (2001)
  • Grand Trio (2001)
  • Paul Revere's Ride for Amplified Soprano Solo, SATB Chorus, and Orchestra (2004)
  • In Wartime for Wind Ensemble (2003)
  • String Quartet No. 1 (2003)
  • Gotham Glory for solo piano (2004)
  • On Wings of Song for soprano and piano (2004)
  • Rip Van Winkle for narrator and orchestra (2005)
  • S/M Ballade for piano (2006)
  • Magyar Madness for clarinet and string quartet (2006)
  • Love Addiction for baritone and piano - texts of John Kelly (performance artist) (2007)
  • Aeolian Ballad for harp (2008)
  • A Field Manual Overture and Five Songs on the poetry of Edward Field (poet) (2008)
  • Facts of Life for guitar (2010)
  • String Quartet No. 2 (2010)
  • Belgian Bliss for wind quintet (2010)
  • Farewell for solo violin (2012)
  • Bullycide for piano sextet (2013)


  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

External links[edit]