In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence founder and artistic director Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Dominick Argento.
American composer Dominick Argento, born in York, Pennsylvania and based for much of his life in Minneapolis, is perhaps best known for his solo vocal and operatic works. He has additionally composed dozens of significant choral works as well as a large body of instrumental music. In his years as a student and pianist at Peabody Conservatory in pursuit of his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Argento studied under Nicolas Nabokov, Hugo Weisgall, and Henry Cowell. He later studied in Florence on a Fulbright scholarship and attended Eastman School of Music in pursuit of his PhD. From 1958 to 1997, Argento was a professor of music theory and composition at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where he was appointed a Regents Professor, the university’s highest honor, in 1979. His award winning compositions include the Pulitzer Prize-winning song cycle From the Diary of Virginia Woolf and the Grammy Award-winning set of songs titled Casa Guidi. Argento’s choral works vary in style and texture, from multimovement works with orchestra to short, a cappella pieces, but all of Argento’s vocal and choral pieces are centered in their great care towards the communication of text.