Joseph Dillon Ford
Joseph Dillon Ford (born February 6, 1952, Americus, Georgia, US) is an American composer and author.
He holds undergraduate degrees in music and graduate degrees in both musicology and landscape architecture. Although he focussed on keyboard performance during his college years, Ford completed his training at Harvard as a Variell Scholar specializing in historical musicology. He studied twentieth-century composers and compositional techniques with Ivan Tcherepnin, the works of Bach and Handel with Christoph Wolff, Dowland and the English lutenists with John Ward, and the music of medieval Aquitaine with David Hughes.
His major works include a symphony, a piano concerto, a harpsichord concerto, choral music, and a large quantity of chamber and solo works for the piano and other instruments. Although most of his oeuvre is tonal—often very traditionally so, he has also produced non-tonal work using both acoustic and electronic media, and has developed synthetic chromatic dialects amenable to both idioms.
In recent years he has published online Orpheus in the Twenty-first Century: Historicism and the Art-Music Renascence (2003), a multimedia e-book on music aesthetics; Chromatic One: A New Technique for Instrumental Speech (2003), a monograph detailing an innovative art form fusing music and spoken language; and numerous articles, poems, and short works of fiction.
Keenly interested in emergent music and telecommunications technologies and the rich potential they offer for international creative collaborations, he also conceived and brought to fruition numerous large-scale projects in which his interdisciplinary artistic background has proven to be an especially useful asset. These include the world’s largest sound sculpture, an ongoing Web-based work that commemorates the monumental “Standing Buddhas of Bamiyan” demolished by the Taliban in 2001; the “Westron Wynde” Project (begun in 2004), for which composers in the US, Canada, and the UK each contributed music for James J. Pellerite (former principal flutist of the Philadelphia Orchestra); the Delian Suites Nos. 1 through 5 (2005–09), each exploring various tonal idioms (No. 4 in cooperation with the Colloque Fou de Basson, Conservatoire Gabriel Fauré, Angoulême); Nu Mu [sic!] Unlimited (2006–09), the world’s first virtual new music festival; and Ye New Music Fayre (2008–09), a seminal event featuring new music composed in traditional tonal and modal styles.
Ford is the founder of the Delian Society, whose efforts to reinvigorate tonal music have attracted many composers and performers on six continents and have drawn attention to the accomplishments of other outstanding artists through an ongoing annual awards program.
He presently resides in Gainesville, Florida, US.
Biographical reference books:
Dictionary of International Biography (19th, 21st, and 22d eds.)
Men of Achievement (11th ed.)
Personalities of America (4th ed.)
Other relevant sources:
- Colburn, Grant. 2007. "A New Baroque Revival." Early Music America 13, no. 2 (Summer): 36-45, 54-55.
- Leccese, Michael. "South Florida Rebuilds." Landscape Architecture 83, no. 6 (1993): 24.
- Smith, Rukshana. 2004. *"Q&A with Joseph Dillon Ford about the Delian Society," Artists without Frontiers Magazine.
- Whoriskey, Peter. "Architects' Designs Based on Ethnic Projections." The Miami Herald, 28 November 1993, sec. G, p. 7.