In Print

16 September 2019

Composer And Conductor Dominick DiOrio

by Aaron Cain (WFIU Public Radio)

Dominick DiOrio is a conductor and composer of mostly choral works, who is also associate professor of music on the conducting faculty at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. His duties on the faculty include leading NOTUS: a select, new-music chamber chorus. NOTUS is one of 24 choirs in the world invited to perform at the 12th World Symposium on Choral Music in Auckland, New Zealand in 2020.

As a composer, Dominick DiOrio is the only person thus far to win The American Prize in both Choral Composition and Choral Performance.

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18 March 2019

In Washington’s crowded choral scene, too much is just enough

by Charles T. Downey (The Washington Post)

DiOrio, who teaches choral conducting at Indiana University, adapted and sewed together several Whitman excerpts in a sentimental, neo-Romantic style, with thrilling climaxes (crisply marshaled by conductor Col. Jason K. Fettig) that captured the overheated rhetoric of Whitman’s verse. There were literal moments, like the elegiac part for solo trumpet in “The Mystic Trumpeter,” while in the more rhapsodic middle section, the band accompanied the impassioned vocal lines with mysterious tremors of marimba, harp and glockenspiel.

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09 March 2019

Emotional fare: NOTUS, Dubinsky salute and more

by Peter Jacobi (Hoosier Times)

Within a Williams poem, “The Orchestra,” written after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, throbs the humanistic and philosophical point, in these words: “Say to them, Man has survived hitherto because he was too ignorant to know how to realize his wishes. Now that he can realize them, he must either change them or perish.” Reich’s music bellows and intones fear and anger and love for life and hopelessness about realities and hope for possibilities. As a package, so brilliantly accomplished by Maestro DiOrio and his fine, stage-filling colleagues, “The Desert Music” was stunning, no less, and quite an achievement as a work of art and in presentation.

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25 February 2019

'Singers and Musicians' Part 2: On Conductors, Identity, and Musical Segregation

by Dominick DiOrio (NewMusicBox)

I believe that my article on the careless use of the phrase “singers and musicians” caused such a stir because it forced us to examine the way we define each of these two labels.  In other words, when someone makes this kind of distinction, what they are really saying is: who deserves to be called musician?

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18 February 2019

On Networking: A National Conference Preview

by Dominick DiOrio (NewMusicBox)

At the end of February, choral directors from all over the country will descend upon Kansas City, Missouri, for the biennial national conference of the American Choral Directors Association. Do not be fooled by the moniker of “national”; this is truly a global event for thousands of conductors, composers, educators, publishers, and other industry professionals from around the world. For five days, choral leaders will meet in one place and be inspired by performances, attend interest sessions presented by teachers they admire, and forge new connections that—for the composers present—often lead to new commissioning projects and second and third performances of just-written works.

I am grateful to serve ACDA as the chair of the Standing Committee on Composition Initiatives. In this role, I work with my colleagues—composer Susan LaBarr and conductors Andrew Crane and Nancy Menk—to consider how ACDA can better serve the community of composers that exists within and just outside our choral orbit. We’ve been working diligently for two years, asking ourselves how we can welcome new composers into our choral profession. The national conference is one of the best ways to do just that, as it serves as a perfect place to build new connections through networking.

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11 February 2019

Writing for "The Chorus": Text, Dynamics, and Other Occupational Hazards

by Dominick DiOrio (NewMusicBox)

As a composer-conductor who works primarily with new choral music, I encounter over 500 freshly minted new works for chorus each year. Sometimes, I am considering newly published works for potential programming; other times, I evaluate new manuscripts as part of a jury in a composition competition. At still other times, composers will send me scores via email and ask that I consider programming them.

Some of these scores are beautifully crafted, expertly notated, and idiomatically written. More usually, however, the scores will often make exceedingly unwarranted demands on the singers or include some rather basic errors.

In order to guide us all toward a more perfect harmony in writing for the chorus, and because writing for the chorus is often neglected in the training of composers at academic institutions, I am including below some of the most prevalent pitfalls that I have seen over and over again—even by some of today’s most reputable composers.

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04 February 2019

"Singers and Musicians" and Why Our Language Matters

by Dominick DiOrio (NewMusicBox)

Language matters. When we use the phrase “singers and musicians” in one breath, we communicate—even if inadvertently—that they are mutually exclusive categories. In other words, singers are not musicians.

That’s a problem.

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On A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass...

The Houston Chamber Choir premiered Dominick DiOrio's "A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass", a four-movement robust choral virtuosic showcase inspired by the imagist poetry of turn-of-the-century Nobel Laureate Amy Lowell. When he said that he had written for a professional choir who could do just about anything, he wasn't kidding."

-- Joel Luks, CultureMap

On Alleluia...

I personally remain suspicious when perusing any copy of new music with the title "Alleluia" after Randall Thompson as it is hard to say more than he did, strictly in the choral idiom, so long ago. That being said, I too can evolve and Dominick DiOrio has crafted a thrilling new treatment worthy of attention and praise."

-- Sean Burton, Iowa ACDA Summer Symposium

On "Stabat mater dolorosa..."...

DiOrio’s setting is highly effective, in a lucid modern idiom, with Near’s sweet tone well conveying the placid denial of brutal reality... The Ave Maria is one of the most striking modern settings we have heard, and was our favorite bit of music for the evening.

-- Vance R. Koven, Boston Musical Intelligencer

On Klytemnestra: the original subversive female...

Dominick’s music has a dramatic complexity and depth that really resonates with me. Klytemnestra’s music has an interwoven quality – web-like, veiled, cyclical, a masterful interplay between the parts. The music is deeply psychological and reflective of a Greek heroine.

-- Misha Penton, artistic director of Divergence Vocal Theater, courtesy of Sequenza21 and Chris Becker