David Del Tredici

David Del Tredici profile image

Generally recognized as the father of the Neo-Romantic movement in music, David Del Tredici has received numerous awards including the Pulitzer Prize and has been commissioned and performed by nearly every major orchestra and ensemble. "Del Tredici," said Aaron Copland, "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. I know of no other composer of his generation who composes music of greater freshness and daring, or with more personality."

Much of his early work consists of elaborate vocal settings of James Joyce (I Hear an Army; Night Conjure-Verse; Syzygy) and Lewis Carroll (from Pop-Pourri and An Alice Symphony to the large scale opera Dum Dee Tweedle premiered by Leonard Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony in the 2013-14 season). In a search for poetry celebrating a gay sensibility, Del Tredici has set many American poets, these include Gay Life (commissioned by Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony), Love Addiction, and Wondrous the Merge. The recent Bullycide for piano and string sextet, a powerful composition dealing with Gay teen suicide as a result bullying, has garnered Mr. Del Tredici special media attention. OUT Magazine has twice named the composer one of its people of the year.

In recent years Del Tredici has ventured further into the more intimate realm of chamber music with two string quartets, a clarinet quintet (Magyar Madness) for David Krakauer and the Orion Quartet, Grand Trio for the  Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, and - harkening to his musical beginnings as a piano prodigy - a large number of solo-piano works, including Mandango, Gotham Glory, Three Gymnopedies, Ballad in Yellow, and  S/M Ballade.  Pianist Marc Peloquin is currently recording all of Del Tredici’s piano works for Naxos.

Ever extravagant, Del Tredici remains a forceful presence on the musical scene.   Paul Revere's Ride for soprano, chorus and orchestra was commissioned by Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony, nominated for the 49th Annual Grammy Awards as the Best New Classical Composition, and issued on a Teldec CD.  Rip Van Winkle commissioned by Leonard Slatkin and the National Symphony Orchestra, an adaptation of the iconic Longfellow story for narrator and orchestra, was premiered by Broadway superstar Brian Stokes Mitchell.   In 2002 Del Tredici composed Four Heartfelt Anthems for the Francisco Núñez and his acclaimed Young People’s Chorus of New York City.    Recently the composer has been drawn to the poetry of Robert Herrick in a series of choral works.

Among the upcoming CDs is a disc for E-1 with the world premiere recordings of A FIELD MANUAL and MAGYAR MADNESS.   Other recent discs include an all-Del Tredici CD for Deutsche Gramophone featuring conductor Oliver Knussen and the Netherlands' ASKO Ensemble, and DRACULA on the Innova label conducted by the composer.  Among past recordings were two best-sellers — Final Alice and In Memory of a Summer Day (Part I of Child Alice); the latter work won Del Tredici the Pulitzer Prize in 1980.
Recent publications include two volumes of solo piano works as well as a volume  of songs for baritone and piano.  Del Tredici’s music is published exclusively by Boosey and Hawkes. 

Distinguished Professor of Music at The City College of New York, Del Tredici has long made his home in Greenwich Village.


David Del Tredici: Bullycide - La Jolla Music Society's SummerFest
David Del Tredici on David Del Tredici, Part 1 of 3
David Del Tredici on David Del Tredici, Part 2 of 3
David Del Tredici on David Del Tredici, Part 3 of 3
Documentary feature about David Del Tredici preview