Monday, September 1, 2008

Norman Dello Joio (1913-2008) / Phillip George

Norman Dello Joio (Nicodemo DeGioio, January 24, 1913, New York, NY - July 24, 2008) was to Italian immigrants; the spelling "Gioio" was later anglicized to "Joio."

His father -- an organist, pianist, and vocal coach -- coached many opera stars from the Metropolitan Opera, and taught Norman piano starting at age four. In his teens, the younger Dello Joio began studying organ with his godfather, Pietro Yon, the organist at Saint Patrick's Cathedral

The young composer began his musical career as organist and choir director at the Star of the Sea Church on City Island in New York at 14. In 1939, he received a scholarship to the Juilliard School of Music, where he studied composition with Bernard Wagenaar.

While a student, Dello Joio worked as organist at St. Anne's Church. In 1941, he began studying with Paul Hindemith, who encouraged him to follow his own lyrical bent.

Dello Joio taught at Sarah Lawrence College from 1944 to 1950, at the Mannes College of Music, and served as professor and dean at Boston University.

His early works already reveal certain characteristics of his style, including the use of traditional chants as a cantus firmus in richly contrapuntal settings, in such works as Magnificat for orchestra (1944). Dello Joio received numerous awards and much recognition, and was a prolific composer in a variety of genres, perhaps best known for his choral works such as A Jubilant Song (1946).

In his music, it is not at all unusual to find Gregorian melodies up against animated, syncopated rhythms -- making his music imminently appropriate for dance, such as his Diversion of Angels (1949), for Martha Graham.

Dello Joio's Variations, Chaconne, and Finale won the New York Critics Circle Award in 1948. His opera The Ruby (1955) has more dramatic drive and impact than the other more subtle and refined works. Dello Joio utilizes received forms in personal ways, with clear outlines, and seemed especially suited to technique.

He won the 1957 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his Meditations on Ecclesiastes, first performed at the Juilliard School on April 20, 1956. Two notable compositions for concert band are Scenes from the Louvre (1966), and Fantasies on a Theme by Haydn (1968), the latter composed for the Michigan State University Wind Ensemble.

He also wrote several pieces for high school and professional string orchestra, including Choreography: Three Dances for String Orchestra (1972).

In 1978, he retired and moved to Long Island, donating 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 orchestral music. He died in his sleep on July 24, 2008, at his home in East Hampton, NY.

Selected Works List

Suite for piano, 1940

Ballad of Thomas Jefferson for voice, 1943

Vigil Strange for mixed chorus and piano (four hands), 1943

Magnificat for orchestra, 1944

Sextet for three recorders and string trio, 1944

The Mystic Trumpeter for mixed chorus and French horn, 1945

Prelude: To a Young Musician for piano, 1945

To a Lone Sentry for orchestra, 1945

On Stage ballet score for orchestra, 1945

Suite from "On Stage" for two pianos, 1945

Prelude: To a Young Dancer for piano, 1946

Concerto for harp and orchestra, 1946

A Jubilant Song for mixed or women's chorus and piano, 1946

Sonata No. 1 for piano, 1947

A Fable for mixed chorus and piano, 1947

Madrigal for mixed chorus and piano, 1947

Sonata No. 3 for piano, 1948

Mill Doors for voice, 1948

Sonata 2 for piano, 1948

Trio for flute, cello, and piano, 1948

New Born for voice, 1948

There is a Lady Sweet and Kind for voice, 1948

Fantasia on a Gregorian Theme for violin and piano, 1949

Concert Music for orchestra, 1949

Duo Concertato for cello and piano, 1949

The Assassination for voice, 1949

Lament for voice, 1949

Diversion of Angels ballet score for small orchestra, 1949

Variations and Capriccio for violin and piano, 1949

Nocturne in E for piano, 1950

Nocturne in F-sharp for piano, 1950

Variations, Chaconne, and Finale for orchestra, 1950

A Psalm of David for mixed chorus, strings, brass, and percussion, 1951

New York Profiles for orchestra, 1952

The Bluebird for mixed chorus and piano, 1952

The Triumph of Saint Joan Symphony, 1952

Serenade for orchestra (based on "Diversion of Angels"), 1953

Somebody's Coming for mixed chorus and piano, 1953

Epigraph for orchestra, 1953

Song of the Open Road for mixed chorus, trumpet, and piano, 1953

Song of Affirmation for mixed chorus, soprano, narrator, and orchestra, 1953

Sweet Sunny for mixed chorus and piano, 1954

Six Love Songs for voice, 1954

The Tall Kentuckian incidental music for soloists, chorus, and orchestra, 1954

Concertante for clarinet and orchestra, 1955

Aria and Toccata for two pianos, 1955

The Ruby opera in one act, 1955

Adieu, Mignonne, When You Are Gone for women's chorus and piano, 1955

The Trial at Rouen opera in two acts, 1955

Meditations on Ecclesiastes for string orchestra, 1956

Air Power symphonic suite for orchestra, 1957

To Saint Cecilia for mixed chorus and brass, 1958

The Triumph of Saint Joan opera in two acts, 1958

O Sing unto the Lord for male chorus and organ, 1959

The Listeners for voice, 1960

The Holy Infant's Lullaby for voice (also for mixed or women's chorus and piano), 1962

Family Album for piano four hands, 1962

Prayers of Cardinal Newman for mixed chorus and organ, 1962

Three Songs of Adieu for voice, 1962

Fantasy and Variations for piano and orchestra, 1963

Variants on a Medieval Tune for band, 1963

Un Sonetto di Petrarca for voice, 1964

Colloquies for violin and piano, 1964

Song's End for female chorus and piano, 1964

The Louvre television score, 1964

Suite for the Young for piano, 1964

Three Songs of Chopin for orchestra (also for two or four voice chorus with piano or orchestra),

From Every Horizon for band, 1965

Laudation for organ, 1965

Antiphonal Fantasy for organ, brass, and strings, 1966

Scenes from the Louvre for band, 1966

Songs of Walt Whitman for mixed chorus and orchestra or piano, 1966

A Christmas Carol for voice (also for mixed or women's chorus and piano), 1967

Five Images for piano four hands, 1967

Air for Strings for string orchestra, 1967

Five Images for orchestra, 1967

Proud Music of the Storm for mixed chorus, brass, and organ, 1967

Bright Star for voice (also for two voice or mixed chorus and piano), 1968

Christmas Music for piano-four hands (also for mixed chorus and piano), 1968

Fantasies on a Theme by Haydn for band, 1968

Years of the Modern for mixed chorus, brass, and percussion, 1968

Bagatelles for harp, 1969

Capriccio on the Interval of a Second for piano, 1969

Homage to Haydn for orchestra, 1969

Mass for mixed chorus, brass, and organ, 1969

Note Left on a Doorstep for voice, 1969

Songs of Abelard for baritone solo and band, 1969

The Lamentation of Saul for baritone, flute, oboe, clarinet, viola, and piano (also for full
orchestra), 1970

Evocations for mixed chorus and orchestra or piano, 1970

Lyric Pieces for the Young for piano, 1971

Choreography for string orchestra, 1972

The Developing Flutist, suite for flute and piano, 1972

Of Crows and Clusters for mixed chorus and piano, 1972

Psalms of Peace for mixed chorus, trumpet, French horn, and organ, 1972

Come to Me My Love for mixed chorus and piano, 1973

Concertante for Wind Instruments for band, 1973

The Poet's Song for mixed chorus and piano, 1974

Three Essays for clarinet and piano, 1974

Leisure for mixed chorus and piano, 1975

Lyric Fantasies for viola and string orchestra (or string quintet), 1975

Stage Parodies for piano-four hands, 1975

Diversions for piano, 1975

Five Lyric Pieces for the Young Organist, 1975

Mass in Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary for cantor, congregation, mixed choir, and organ (or
brass), 1975

Mass in Honor of the Eucharist for cantor, congregation, mixed choir, and organ, 1975

Notes from Tom Paine for mixed chorus a cappella, 1975

Satiric Dances for a Comedy by Aristophanes for band, 1975

Colonial Ballads for band, 1976

Colonial Variants for orchestra, 1976

Songs of Remembrance for baritone voice and orchestra, 1976

Southern Echoes for orchestra, 1976

Arietta for string orchestra, 1978

Caccia for band, 1978

Concertante for chamber orchestra, 1978

As of a Dream for Narrator, Soloists, Optional Dancers, Mixed Chorus, and Orchestra, 1979

The Dancing Sergeant for Band, 1979

Salute to Scarlatti for Piano or Harpsichord, 1980

Sonata for Trumpet and Piano, 1980

Hymns Without Words for Mixed Chorus and Orchestra, 1981

The Psalmist's Meditation for Mixed Chorus and Piano, 1981

Concert Variants for Piano, 1983

Ballabili for Orchestra, 1983

Love Songs at Parting for Mixed Chorus and Piano, 1984