Norman Dello Joio
Norman Dello Joio
In his teens, Norman began studying organ with his godfather, Pietro Yon, who was the organist at Saint Patrick's Cathedral. In 1939, he received a scholarship to the Juilliard School of Music, where he studied composition with Bernard Wagenaar. He was the father of American Olympic medalist (equestrian), Norman Dello Joio. While he was a student, he worked as organist at St. Anne's Church, but he soon decided that he didn't want to make his living as an organist.
In 1941, he began studying with Paul Hindemith, who encouraged him to follow his own lyrical bent, rather than sacrificing it to the atonal systems then popular. By the late forties, he was considered one of the foremost American composers. He received numerous awards and much recognition. He was a prolific composer in a variety of genres, but is perhaps best known for his choral music. Perhaps Dello Joio's most famous work in the wind ensemble category is his Fantasies on a Theme by Haydn, composed for the Michigan State University Wind Ensemble and has since been performed thousands of times across the world.
Dello Joio also wrote several pieces for high school and professional string orchestra, including the beautiful if difficult Choreography: Three Dances for String Orchestra. He won the 1957 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his Meditations on Ecclesiastes; first performed at the Juilliard School on April 20, 1956. Another of his famous works is Scenes from the Louvre, for concert band. His Variations, Chaconne and Finale won the New York Critics Circle Award in 1948. He taught at Sarah Lawrence College from 1944 to 1950, and at the Mannes College of Music. He also served as professor and dean at Boston University.
In 1978, he retired and moved to Long Island. He donated his personal archive of manuscripts and papers to the Music Division of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Despite infirmities, Dello Joio remained active as a composer until his final years, continuing to produce chamber, choral, and even orchestral music. He died in his sleep on July 24, 2008 at his home in East Hampton, New York. His music Dello Joio's early works already reveal certain characteristics of his style.
He likes to use traditional chants as a cantus firmus with richly contrapuntal settings. It is amusing, but not at all incongruous, to find Gregorian melodies and jazzy rhythms rubbing shoulders, for they are blended in a creatively spontaneous texture. The Ruby (1953) which is based on a "thriller" and is genuine blood-and-thunder music, has more dramatic drive and impact than the other more subtle and refined works. Joio is not slavishly imitative of classic forms, and often, in his sonatas, develops new procedures.
But his design is always clear; he never wanders, even when he is a bit prolix. He is especially happy in his variation technique. One of the most notable uses of his music is his score for choreographer Martha Graham's Diversion of Angels. (wikipedia) Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
show me more