DOMINICK ARGENTO (b 1927 )
Dominick Argento, considered to be America’s preeminent composer of lyric opera, was born in York, Pennsylvania in 1927. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Peabody Conservatory and his Ph.D. from the Eastman School of Music. Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellowships allowed him to study in Italy and, following his Fulbright, Argento became music director of Hilltop Opera in Baltimore, and taught theory and composition at the Eastman School. In 1958, he joined the faculty of the Department of Music at the University of Minnesota, where he taught until 1997. He now holds the rank of Professor Emeritus.
Since the early 1970s Argento’s operas have been heard with increasing frequency abroad. Among these are The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe (1976), Dream of Valentino (1993), and Casanova’s Homecoming (1984) which Robert Jacobson of Opera News described as “a masterpiece.”
Dominick Argento received the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1975 for his song cycle From the Diary of Virginia Woolf. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1979, and in 1997 was honoured with the title of Composer Laureate to the Minnesota Orchestra, a lifetime appointment.
Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes.