Dominick Argento (b. October 27, 1927, York, Pennsylvania) is an American composer, best known as a leading composer of lyric opera and choral music. Events 312 - Constantine the Great is said to have received his famous Vision of the Cross. Year 1927 ( MCMXXVII) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. York, known as the White Rose City (after the Wars of the Roses) is a city located in South Central Pennsylvania. A composer (literally meaning 'one who puts together' is a person who creates Music, usually in the medium of notation, for Interpretation and Performance Opera is an art form in which Singers and Musicians perform a Dramatic work (called an opera which combines a text (called a Libretto For the musical composition see Chorale. A choir, chorale, or chorus is a Musical ensemble of Singers Among his most prominent pieces are the operas Postcard from Morocco, Miss Havisham’s Fire, and The Masque of Angels, and the song cycles Six Elizabethan Songs and From the Diary of Virginia Woolf, the latter of which earned him the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1975. Postcard from Morocco is an Opera in one act composed by Dominick Argento and Libretto written by John Donahue The Pulitzer Prize for Music was first awarded in 1943 Joseph Pulitzer did not call for such a prize in his will but had arranged for a music scholarship to be awarded In a predominantly tonal context, his music freely combines tonality, atonality and a lyrical use of twelve-tone writing, though none of Argento's music approaches the experimental avant garde fashions of the post World War II era. Tonality is a system of Music in which specific hierarchical pitch relationships are based on a key "center" or tonic. Atonality in its broadest sense describes Music that lacks a tonal center, or key. Twelve-tone technique (also dodecaphony, especially in British usage twelve-note composition) is a method of musical composition devised by Arnold He is particularly well-known for sensitive settings of complex, sophisticated texts. 
As a student in the 1950s, Argento divided his time between America and Italy, and his music is greatly influenced both by his teachers in the United States and his personal affection for Italy, particularly the city of Florence, where he spends part of every year and where many of his works were written. The 1950s Decade refers to the years of 1950 to 1959 inclusive The United States of America —commonly referred to as the Italy (Italia officially the Italian Republic, (Repubblica Italiana is located on the Italian Peninsula in Southern Europe, and on the two largest Florence ( Italian: Firenze Florentia and Fiorenza) is the Capital City of the Italian region of Tuscany  He has been a professor (and, more recently, a professor emeritus) at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and he frequently remarks that he finds that city to be tremendously supportive of his work and that he thinks his musical development would have been impeded had he stayed in the high-pressure world of East Coast music. The University of Minnesota Twin Cities ( U of M or The U) is the oldest and largest part of the University of Minnesota system.  He was one of the founders of the Center Opera Company (now the Minnesota Opera), and indeed Newsweek once referred to the Twin Cities as “Argento’s town. The Minnesota Opera is a performance organization based in Minneapolis Minnesota. Newsweek is an American weekly Newsmagazine published in New York City. ”
Argento has written fourteen operas as well as major song cycles, orchestral works, and many choral pieces for small and large forces, many of which were commissioned for and premiered by Minnesota-based artists. He has referred to his wife, the soprano Carolyn Bailey, as his muse, and she was a frequent performer of his works. She died on February 2, 2006. Events 962 - Translatio imperii: Pope John XII crowns Otto I Holy Roman Emperor, the first Holy Roman Emperor Year 2006 ( MMVI) was a Common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar.
Argento, the son of Sicilian immigrants, grew up in York, Pennsylvania. Sicily ( Italian and Sicilian: Sicilia) is an autonomous region of Italy. York, known as the White Rose City (after the Wars of the Roses) is a city located in South Central Pennsylvania. Ironically, although he would go on to become an acclaimed composer, he found his music classes in elementary school to be “fifty minute sessions of excruciating boredom. ” Upon graduating from high school, he was drafted into the Army and spent some time as a cryptographer; he then began studying piano performance at the Peabody Conservatory on the G.I. Bill. An army (from Latin Armata "act of arming" via Old French armée) in the broadest sense is the land-based Armed forces Cryptography (or cryptology; from Greek grc κρυπτός kryptos, "hidden secret" and grc γράφω gráphō, "I write" The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University is a conservatory and preparatory school located in the Mount Vernon neighborhood The GI Bill (officially titled Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 PL346 58 Statutes at Large 284 provided for college or vocational education for returning  He quickly decided to switch to composition.
He earned bachelor's (1951) and master's (1953) degrees from Peabody, where his teachers included Nicholas Nabokov, Henry Cowell, and Hugo Weisgall. Henry Cowell ( March 11, 1897 – December 10, 1965) was an American Composer, musical theorist, Pianist Hugo David Weisgall ( October 13, 1912 – March 11, 1997) was an American Composer, known chiefly for Opera While there, he was briefly the music director of Weisgall’s Hilltop Musical Company, which Weisgall founded as a sort of answer to Benjamin Britten’s festival at Aldeburgh - a venue for local composers (particularly Weisgall himself) to present new work. Edward Benjamin Britten Baron Britten, OM CH (22 November 1913 – 4 December 1976 was an English Composer, conductor, Aldeburgh ( IPA /ˈɔlbrə/ is a town in Suffolk, East Anglia, England; it is located on the Alde river at 52° 9' North 1° 36' East This experience gave Argento broad exposure to and experience in the world of new opera.  Hilltop’s stage director was writer John Olon-Scrymgeour, with whom Argento would later collaborate on many operas. During this time period he also spent a year in Florence on a Fulbright Fellowship, and has called the experience “life-altering;” while there, he studied briefly with Luigi Dallapiccola. The Fulbright Program, including the Fulbright-Hays Program, is a program of grants for international educational exchange for scholars educators graduate Luigi Dallapiccola ( February 3, 1904 &ndash February 19, 1975) was an Italian Composer known for his lyrical twelve-tone Argento went on to receive his Ph. D. from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Alan Hovhaness, Bernard Rogers and Howard Hanson. The Eastman School of Music (also known more simply as The Eastman School, Eastman, or ESM) is a music conservatory located in the Alan Hovhaness (Ալան Հովհանես ( March 8, 1911 &ndash June 21, 2000) was an American Composer of Armenian Bernard Rogers ( February 4, 1893 – May 24, 1968) was an American composer Howard Harold Hanson ( October 28, 1896 &ndash February 26, 1981) was an American Composer, conductor, educator Following completion of this degree, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship and spent another year in Florence, thus inaugurating a tradition of spending long periods of time in that city. Guggenheim Fellowships are American grants that have been awarded annually since 1925 by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to those "who
Argento moved to Minneapolis in 1958 with his new wife Carolyn to begin teaching theory and composition at the University of Minnesota. The Guthrie Theater is a center for theater performance production education and professional training in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Within a few years he received commissions from virtually every major performing group there. He has remarked that this constant feeling of strong community interest in his work made him feel particularly at home in Minnesota, despite the fact that he resisted moving there at first and hoped for several years that a position on the East Coast would beckon.  Argento became involved in writing music for productions at the then-new Guthrie Theatre, and in 1963, he and Scrymgeour founded the Center Opera Company to be in residence there. The Guthrie Theater is a center for theater performance production education and professional training in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Argento composed the short opera The Masque of Angels for the occasion, and the work – with its complex harmonic language and an emphasis on expansive choral writing that prefigures his later role as a prominent choral composer – firmly established his local prominence, as well as providing a role for his wife.
By 1971, when his daring surreal opera Postcard from Morocco opened at Center Opera, his national reputation was secure, in part thanks to a glowing review by the principal music critic of the New York Times. Postcard from Morocco is an Opera in one act composed by Dominick Argento and Libretto written by John Donahue  He eventually received commissions from New York City Opera, the newly-formed Minnesota Opera, Washington Opera, and the Baltimore and St. Louis Symphonies, among others. New York State Theater by David Shankbonejpg|thumb| New York State Theater]] The New York City Opera (NYCO is based in Philip Johnson 's New York State The Minnesota Opera is a performance organization based in Minneapolis Minnesota. The Washington National Opera ( WNO) is a world-class opera company in Washington D The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra ( BSO) is a major American Symphony orchestra based in Baltimore, Maryland. The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra ( SLSO) an American Symphony orchestra based in St He also developed close professional relationships with several prominent singers, notably Frederica Von Stade, Janet Baker, and Håkan Hagegård, and some of his best-known song cycles were tailored to their talents. Frederica von Stade ( June 1, 1945) is an American Mezzo-soprano. WikipediaWikiProject Opera#Infoboxes and WikipediaWikiProject Musicians/Infobox --> Håkan Hagegård (born November 25, 1945, Karlstad Sweden) is a Swedish Operatic Baritone.
In the mid-1970s he also began writing small choral works for the choir of a Congregational Church in Minneapolis, which his friend directed. Congregational churches are Protestant Christian churches practicing Congregationalist church governance, in which each congregation independently  From this modest beginning, he began to receive larger and larger commissions for choral works, eventually penning major pieces for the Dale Warland Singers, The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Buffalo Schola Cantorum, and most recently the Harvard and Yale Glee Clubs. The Dale Warland Singers were a highly successful and critically acclaimed 40-person choral group in the United States, based in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is an American orchestra located in Buffalo New York. The Harvard Glee Club is a 60-voice all-male choral ensemble at Harvard University. The Yale Glee Club is a mixed chorus of men and women consisting of students of Yale University in New Haven Connecticut. A glee club is a Choir, historically of men but also of just women or mixed voices which traditionally specializes in singing short songs
In addition to his Pulitzer Prize, the recording by Frederica Von Stade and the Minnesota Orchestra of his song cycle Casa Guidi won the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. Argento's book Catalogue Raisonné as Memoir, an autobiographical discussion of his works, was published in 2004.
Argento is now retired from teaching but he retains the title of Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota. He still lives in Minneapolis, and his musical output has remained steady. The world premiere of his latest piece, Evensong: Of Love and Angels, will be presented by the Cathedral Choral Society in March 2008. The work was written in memory of his late wife and in honor of Washington National Cathedral's centennial. The piece will be performed in the cathedral. 
Argento’s operatic output is eclectic and extensive. Two of his early operas, written while he was a student – Sicilian Limes and Colonel Jonathan the Saint - have been withdrawn by the composer, but one work, The Boor, written in 1957 as part of his PhD work, was published by Boosey & Hawkes. Boosey & Hawkes is a British music publisher that claims to be the largest specialist Classical music publisher in the world He then collaborated with John Olon-Scrymgeour on a number of works, including The Masque of Angels; Christopher Sly (1962), based on an episode from The Taming of the Shrew; and The Shoemaker’s Holiday, (1967) a “ballad opera” based on a play by Thomas Dekker. The Taming of the Shrew is an early comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written between 1590 and 1594 The term ballad opera is used to refer to a genre of English stage entertainment originating in the 18th century and continuing to develop in the following century Thomas Dekker is the name of Thomas Dekker (writer (1572&ndash1632 Elizabethan poet and dramatist Thomas Dekker (actor (born 1987
After Postcard from Morocco in 1971, which had a libretto by Jon Donahue, the commissions afforded him were much larger. Postcard from Morocco is an Opera in one act composed by Dominick Argento and Libretto written by John Donahue The University of Minnesota and Minnesota Opera together commissioned The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe in 1975-76, with a libretto by Charles Nolte. As a result of that work, which received wildly enthusiastic reviews upon its premiere, the New York City Opera commissioned him and received Miss Havisham’s Fire (1977), with a libretto by Scrymgeour. New York State Theater by David Shankbonejpg|thumb| New York State Theater]] The New York City Opera (NYCO is based in Philip Johnson 's New York State Miss Havisham is a significant character in the Charles Dickens Novel, Great Expectations ( 1861) Although not well received initially, Argento eventually revised it into a one-act form entitled Miss Havisham’s Wedding Night (1981). Miss Havisham’s Fire was itself revised in 1995.
In 1984, the Minnesota Opera commissioned Casanova's Homecoming, with text by the composer; it went on to a well-received run at New York City Opera, where at the insistence of Beverly Sills it became the first opera performed in New York in English to have English supertitles, to ensure the audience would understand all the jokes. Casanova's Homecoming is an Opera in three acts by Dominick Argento to an English Libretto by the composer based in part on Giacomo Casanova WikipediaWikiProject Opera#Infoboxes --> Beverly Sills ( May 25, 1929 – July 2, 2007) was an Surtitles, also known as supertitles, are translated or transcribed Lyrics projected above a stage or displayed on a screen commonly used in Opera or other  The opera won the 1986 National Institute for Music Theatre Award. He then wrote The Aspern Papers (1987), to his own libretto adapted from the story by Henry James, as a vehicle for Frederica Von Stade. The Aspern Papers is a Novella Henry James, OM ( –) son of theologian Henry James Sr, brother of the philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James His next opera, and arguably largest work to date, was The Dream of Valentino, which premiered at the Kennedy Center in 1993. Rudolph Valentino ( May 6, 1895 &ndash August 23, 1926) was an Italian Actor, Sex symbol, and early The John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (on the building itself called the John F Critic Anne Midgette of the New York Times has noted that Argento's operas tend to be very well-received upon their premieres, but they lack an "easy popular hook" and are rarely revived. 
Argento’s song cycles are notable in his frequent use of dramatic, unusual text, most often prose that does not have immediately apparent musical possibilities; they blur the distinction between straightforward groupings of songs and dramatic works, which he terms “monodramas”. His most well-known song cycle is From the Diary of Virginia Woolf, with a text he assembled from the book of the title. Written for Janet Baker in 1974, it won the Pulitzer Prize and is performed frequently. Other prominent works in a similar vein include Letters from Composers (1968), which uses as its text letters written by Chopin, Puccini, and others; Casa Guidi (1983), which sets letters written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning; and A Few Words About Chekhov (1996), which adapts letters by Chekhov. WikipediaWikiProject Composers#Lead section --> Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini ( December 22, 1858 Elizabeth Barrett Browning ( March 6, 1806 &ndash June 29, 1861) was one of the most respected Poets of the Victorian era
Argento’s other song cycles include A Water Bird Talk, which combines a Chekov short story with passages from Audubon’s Birds of America; The Andrée Expedition, which includes journal entries by Salomon Andrée during his ill-fated attempt to travel to the North Pole by balloon; and Miss Manners on Music (1998), which sets newspaper clippings by columnist Judith Martin (aka “Miss Manners”). Salomon August Andrée, during his lifetime most often known as S The North Pole, also known as the Geographic North Pole or Terrestrial North Pole, is subject to the caveats explained below defined as the point in the northern Judith Martin (née Perlman born September 13 1938) better known by the Pen name Miss Manners, is an American journalist One of the few major song sets Argento has written that use “traditional” verse as text is his popular Six Elizabethan Songs.
Other solo vocal works by Argento include:
Argento’s first large-scale choral work, if one discounts The Masque of Angels (parts of which, such as the “Gloria” and “Sanctus”, are frequently excerpted), is The Revelation of St. Edward Estlin Cummings (October 14 1894 &ndash September 3 1962 popularly known as E John the Divine (1968), which sets portions of the Book of Revelation and is scored for male chorus, brass, and an array of percussion instruments. The Book of Revelation, also called Revelation to John, Apocalypse of John ( pronounced, from the Ἀποκάλυψις Ἰωάννου Peter Quince at the Clavier, a setting of the poem by Wallace Stevens, was commissioned by Pennsylvania State University in honor of the state’s tercentenary (both Stevens and Argento are Pennsylvania natives. Wallace Stevens ( October 2, 1879 – August 2, 1955) was a major American Modernist Poet. The Pennsylvania State University (commonly known as Penn State) is a state-related, land-grant, space grant public research University ) For the Dale Warland Singers, Argento wrote I Hate and I Love (1982), with text by Catullus, and Walden Pond (1996), based on excerpts from Thoreau. For persons with a Cognomen "Catulus" see Lutatius Gaius Valerius Catullus (ca Argento composed a massive Te Deum in 1987 which integrates the Latin text with medieval English folk poetry. A Toccata of Galuppi’s (1989), a 20-minute setting of a Robert Browning poem, is one of many works inspired by Argento’s time in Florence. Robert Browning (7 May 1812 - 12 December 1889 was an English poet and playwright whose mastery of Dramatic verse, especially Dramatic monologues made him one of As of 2007, the Harvard Glee Club is in the midst of premiering portions of Apollo in Cambridge, a multi-movement setting of texts by Harvard-affiliated writers of the 19th century. The Harvard Glee Club is a 60-voice all-male choral ensemble at Harvard University. The 19th century of the Common Era began on January 1, 1801 and ended on December 31, 1900, according to the Gregorian calendar
Other choral works by Argento include:
Argento’s purely orchestral output is relatively small; there are, for example, no symphonies, and just one String Quartet written when he was a student. Bagatelle (from the Château de Bagatelle) is an indoor table game related to Billiards, the object of which is to get a number of balls (set at nine in the nineteenth Easter ( Greek: Πάσχα Pascha or Pasxa) is the most important religious feast in the Christian Liturgical year. A cantata (derived from the Italian word 'cantare' meaning 'to sing' is a vocal composition with an instrumental Accompaniment and often The Yale Glee Club is a mixed chorus of men and women consisting of students of Yale University in New Haven Connecticut. The term anthem means either a specific form of Anglican church music (in Music theory and religious contexts or more generally a song (or composition of A cappella (Italian or Latin "From the chapel/choir" Music is Vocal music or Singing without instrumental Accompaniment In Western music, motet is a word that is applied to a number of highly varied choral musical compositions A string quartet is a Musical ensemble of four String instruments &mdash usually two Violins a Viola and Cello &mdash or a piece He has produced numerous orchestral suites based on his operas, including Le tombeau d’Edgar Poe (1985), adapted from The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe, and the popular Valentino Dances (1994), from The Dream of Valentino. He has written two ballets that were then fashioned into orchestral suites, The Resurrection of Don Juan (1956) and Royal Invitation (Homage to the Queen of Tonga) (1964). Ballet is a formalized form of Dance with its origins in the French court further developed in France and Russia as a Concert dance His 1982 Fire Variations was nominated for the Kennedy Center Fridheim Prize in Music. The John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (on the building itself called the John F
Other orchestral works include: