Michael Dellaira's music exploits the qualities of both speech and song, and encompasses genres from folk music to voice synthesis on computers. About Dellaira, who is widely praised for his “haunting harmonies”(newmusicbox.org), “eloquence and sensitivity” (New York Times) and “flair for vocal writing” (classicstoday.com), the noted American critic and composer Eric Salzman has said: “He has created a personal musical language that combines the harmonic vocabulary and rhythmic interest of rock music with the technical rigor of the best modern classical music. It is the combination and synthesis of these seemingly contradictory elements which gives surface tension and excitement, and deeper value to Dellaira’s music.” Born in Schenectady, New York, Dellaira was educated in the U.S. at Georgetown, The George Washington and Princeton Universities, in Germany at the Universität zu Köln, and in Italy at L’Accademia di Santa Cecilia and L’Accademia Chigiana. His primary teachers were Milton Babbitt, Goffredo Petrassi and Franco Donatoni. In addition, he had two residencies at The Composers Conference, where he studied with Roger Sessions and Mario Davidovsky. His numerous awards include First Prize for his monodrama Maud from the Society of Composers, an ASCAP Morton Gould Award, a Fulbright Fellowship, grants from the Ford and Mellon Foundations, the New Jersey Arts Council, Cary Trust, the American Composers Forum and American Music Center. His opera Chéri (libretto by Susan Yankowitz, after the novel by Colette) was a finalist for the 2006 Richard Rodgers Award in Musical Theater. His most recent opera, The Secret Agent, a collaboration with librettist J. D. McClatchy, was named the "Laureat" at the Armel International Opera Festival at the Szeged National Theater in Hungary. Dellaira has taught music at The George Washington University, Princeton University, and Union College. His works are recorded on CRI, Opus One and Albany Records. Dellaira resides with his wife, the writer Brenda Wineapple, in New York City.
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