Norman Dello Joio

born on 24/1/1913 in New York City, NY, United States

died on 24/7/2008 in East Hampton, NY, United States

Norman Dello Joio

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Norman Dello Joio (January 24, 1913July 24, 2008) was an American composer whose output spanned over half a century, and won a Pulitzer in 1957.


Dello Joio was born Nicodemo DeGioio in New York City to Italian immigrants. He began his musical career as organist and choir director at the Star of the Sea Church on City Island in New York at age 14. His father was an organist, pianist, and vocal coach and coached many opera stars from the Metropolitan Opera. He taught Norman piano starting at the age of four. 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, where he studied composition with Bernard Wagenaar.

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, which was 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 difficult piece Choreography: Three Dances for String Orchestra. In 1948 he became associated with the dancer Martha Graham, for whom he wrote several works, including Diversion of Angels and Seraphic Dialogue, a recomposition for chamber orchestra of his Symphony: The Triumph of Saint Joan.

He won the 1957 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his Meditations on Ecclesiastes; first performed at the Juilliard School on April 20, 1956. His Variations, Chaconne and Finale won the New York Critics Circle Award in 1948. It is an orchestral version of his Piano Sonata No. 1.

In 1965, Dello Joio received the Emmy Award for the "most outstanding music written for television in the 1964-1965 Season" for his score to the 1964 NBC television special "The Louvre." The composer created a five movement suite for wind band entitled 'Scenes from "The Louvre."' The suite was commissioned by Baldwin-Wallace College for their symphonic band, and was premiered in on March 13, 1966 with the composer conducting.

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's College of Fine Arts. 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.[1][2]

He was the father of American Olympic medalist (equestrian), Norman Dello Joio, and composer Justin Dello Joio.

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. Dello 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.

Catalogue of works

[3] [4]

  • 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, soprano, and French horn, 1944
  • 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 1 for piano, 1947
  • A Fable for mixed chorus and piano, 1947
  • Madrigal for mixed chorus and piano, 1947
  • Sonata 2 for piano, 1948
  • Mill Doors for voice, 1948
  • Sonata 3 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
  • "The Triumph of St. Joan", opera in 3 Acts, 1950 (later adapted into The Trial at Rouen for television and into a one act opera)
  • 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
  • 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
  • Meditations on Ecclesiastes for string orchestra, 1956
  • Air Power symphonic suite for orchestra, 1957
  • To Saint Cecilia for mixed chorus and brass, 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
  • Fantasies on a Theme by Haydn, 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), 1964
  • 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
  • I Dreamed of an Invincible City for Chorus and Piano/Organ, 1984
  • The Vigil, for Chorus, Brass, and Percussion, 1985
  • Nativity for Soloists, Chorus, and Orchestra, 1987
  • Passing Strangers for Choir, 2003


  1. Obituary in NewMusicBox, journal of The American Music Center
  2. Daniel J. Wakin, Norman Dello Joio, Prolific and Popular Composer, Is Dead at 95 New York Times 27 July 2008
  3., Norman Dello Joio's compositions
  4., Norman Dello Joio's Works

External links

  • Norman Dello Joio papers in the Music Division of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
  • Interview with Norman Dello Joio by Bruce Duffie, November 17, 1985
This page was last modified 07.05.2014 04:46:41

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