John Corigliano (born 16 February 1938 in Brooklyn, NY) is an American composer of classical music. His scores, now numbering over one hundred, have won him the Pulitzer Prize, five Grammy Awards, Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, and an Oscar. Many of his works have been performed and recorded by many of the most prominent orchestras, soloists, and chamber musicians in the world. His most distinguished works include Symphony No. 1 (1988), The Ghosts of Versailles (1991), Symphony No. 2 for string orchestra (2000), Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan (2000), and his film score the The Red Violin (1998). He is a distinguished professor of music at Lehman College in the City University of New York and on the composition faculty at The Julliard School.
Italian-American Corigliano was born in New York to a musical family. His father, John Corigliano Sr., was concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic for 23 years, and his mother, Rose Buzen, is an accomplished educator and pianist. Corigliano attended P.S. 241 and Midwood High School in Brooklyn. He studied composition at Columbia University (BA 1959) and at the Manhattan School of Music. He is also a former student of Otto Luening, Vittorio Giannini and Paul Creston. Before achieving success as composer, Corigliano worked as assistant to the producer on the Leonard Bernstein Young People's Concerts, and as a session producer for classical artists such as André Watts. From 1987-90 he was the first Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Most of Corigliano's work has been for symphony orchestra. He employs a wide variety of styles, sometimes even within the same work, but aims to make his work accessible to a relatively large audience. He has written symphonies, as well as works for string orchestra, and wind band. Additionally, Corigliano has written concerti for clarinet, flute, violin, oboe, and piano; film scores; various chamber and solo instrument works, and the opera, The Ghosts of Versailles, which enjoyed a success at the premiere. His Clarinet Concerto is the first by an American composer to have entered the standard repertoire since that of Aaron Copland.
The younger Corigliano first came to prominence in 1964 when, at the age of 26, his Sonata for Violin and Piano (1963) was the only winner of the chamber-music competition of the Spoleto Festival in Italy. Support from Meet the Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation followed, as did important commissions. For the New York Philharmonic he composed his Vocalise (1999), Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra (1977) and Fantasia on an Ostinato (1986); for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, he wrote Poem in October (1970); for the New York State Council on the Arts he composed the Oboe Concerto (1975); for flutist James Galway he composed his Pied Piper Fantasy (1982), as well as the Symphony No. 2 (2001); the National Symphony Orchestra commissioned the evening-length A Dylan Thomas Trilogy (1960, rev. 1999). He also composed Chiaroscuro [Listen here], for two pianos tuned a quarter tone apart for The Dranoff International Two Piano Foundation.
In 1991 he was awarded the University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition for his Symphony No. 1 (1991), which was inspired by the AIDS crisis. In 2001 he received the Pulitzer Prize for his Symphony No. 2 (2001). Corigliano composed dramatic scores for the 1980 film Altered States, the 1985 film Revolution and Francois Girard's 1997 film The Red Violin. The award-winning score for Revolution is one of Corigliano's most impressive creations although it is less known, as it was never released in any recorded format; it has existed in a bootleg form until Varese Sarabande officially released the score for a limited time in December 2009 through their CD club, which will be released in stores as a regular release later in 2010. Corigliano did, however, export portions of the score for use in his first symphony. Portions of the score to The Red Violin were also used in his Violin Concerto (2003). In 1970 Corigliano teamed up with David Hess to create The Naked Carmen. In a recent communication with David Hess, Hess acknowledged that The Naked Carmen was originally conceived by Corigliano and himself as a way to update the most popular opera of our time referring to Bizet's Carmen. Mercury Records wanted the classical and popular divisions to work together and after a meeting with Joe Bott, Scott Mampe and Bob Reno it was decided to proceed with the project. In Hess's own words, the project was "a collective decision."
Among Corigliano's students are David S. Sampson, Eric Whitacre, Elliot Goldenthal, Edward Knight, Nico Muhly, Roger Bergs, Scott Glasgow, John Mackey, Michael Bacon, Avner Dorman, Mason Bates, Steven Bryant, Jefferson Friedman, Dinuk Wijeratne and David Ludwig. In 1996, The Corigliano Quartet was founded, taking his name in tribute. Corigliano lives with his husband, composer Mark Adamo, in New York City.
In 2011, Corigliano's "One Sweet Morning" premiered at Avery Fisher Hall for the New York Philharmonic, a commission commemorating the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Stephanie Blythe performed the solo mezzo-soprano role.
Notable works include:
- "Fern Hill" (1961)
- "Clarinet Concerto" (1977)
- "Pied Piper Fantasy" (1982)
- Symphony No. 1 (1988)
- The Ghosts of Versailles, Opera in 2 acts (1991); libretto by William M. Hoffman
- "String Quartet" (1995)
- The Red Violin, film score (1998)
- Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan for soprano and piano (or orchestra) (2000)
- Symphony No. 2 for string orchestra (2000)
- "Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (The Red Violin)" (2003)
- Circus Maximus, Symphony No. 3 for large wind ensemble (2004)
- "Conjurer: Concerto for Percussionist and String Orchestra" (2007)
- University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award Symphony No. 1 (1991) 
- Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition for Symphony No. 1 (1992)
- Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition for "String Quartet" (1997)
- Academy Award for Original Music Score for The Red Violin (1999)
- Pulitzer Prize for Music for Symphony No. 2 (2001)
- Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition for Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan (2009)
- Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Performance for Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan (2009)
- Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo for Conjurer: Concerto For Percussionist & String Orchestra (2014)
- "C250 Celebrates John Corigliano". Retrieved 28 April 2012.
- Kozinn, Allan (March 26, 1999). "Decades in the Making, John Corigliano's 'Dylan Thomas' Gets Its Premiere". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
- McGinnis, Mara. "The Music of Communion". Columbia Magazine. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
- "About John Corigliano". Retrieved 28 July 2013.
- Yvonne Frindle, "An American composer", ABC Radio 24 Hours, February 1997, p. 40
- "1991 - John Corigliano". 23 April 1991. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
- "John Corigliano Awards" (PDF). The Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency, Inc. Retrieved 2007-08-27.
- http://www.varesesarabande.com/details.asp?pid=vsd%2D302%2D067%2D000%2D2[bare URL]
- Scott Cantrell (10 July 2005). "On the Outside Looking In: Gay Composers Gave America Its Music". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2007-03-19.
- Kozinn, Allan (23 September 2011). "John Corigliano's New Work Commemorates 9/11". The New York Times.
- Official website of John Corigliano
- John Corigliano at the Internet Movie Database
- NewMusicBox: "The Gospel According to John Corigliano" (February 1, 2005). John Corigliano in conversation with Frank J. Oteri on December 9, 2004.
- John Corigliano biography at G. Schirmer
- Two Interviews with John Corigliano by Bruce Duffie 1987 & 2004
- Sony BMG Masterworks' John Corigliano Podcast
- Classical Archives Interview
- David Dubal interview with John Corigliano on YouTube, WNCN-FM, February 16, 1981