Del Tredici, David

Del Tredici, David dĕl trədē´chē [key], 1937–, American composer, b. Cloverdale, Calif. Originally a pianist, he made his debut with the San Francisco Symphony at 16, and studied composition with Darius Milhaud (1958). He taught at Harvard (1966–72) and Boston Univ. (1973–84) before joining the faculty of the City Univ. of New York in 1984. Del Tredici has composed for orchestra (sometimes including folk instruments), chamber groups, piano, and accompanied voice. His early works, e.g., I Hear an Army (1964) and Syzygy (1966), are in an atonal modernist idiom and largely inspired by the verbal pyrotechnics of James Joyce. For some two decades Del Tredici manifested an obsession with Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, composing many pieces inspired by them. Usually melodic and popular with audiences, these works include An Alice Symphony (1969, rev. 1976), Final Alice (1976), In Memory of a Summer Day (1980; Pulitzer Prize), and Haddock's Eyes (1986). Since the mid-1980s many of the openly gay composer's songs and song cycles, e.g., Gay Life (2001) and Wondrous the Merge (2003), have incorporated poems that celebrate homosexual love; his style has become lusher and more romantic.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Music: History, Composers, and Performers: Biographies