Norman Dello Joio (1913-2008)

I am saddened to report the passing of one of my favorite contemporary composers, Norman Dello Joio on July 24. Influenced by jazz, dance and the Roman Catholic liturgy, and motivated by the musical development of his own children, Dello Joio devoted a considerable amount of time to writing music for young pianists.

The partial list of Dello Joio’s compositions is quite vast, including hundreds of works for several different instruments, such as chorus, orchestra, band, solo voice, organ, chamber ensembles, and piano.  His published solo piano works include three sonatas, two nocturnes, two preludes, two suites and several others, as well as one published work for piano and orchestra.  He has also composed works for stage, television, opera and ballet.  A lifelong musician, Dello Joio continued composing until his final years.

Dello Joio had also written a number of pedagogical pieces for both two and four hands at the piano, as well as some works for four hands at two pianos.  Some of my students have had the opportunity to study some of his works, including movements from Lyric Pieces for the Young, and Family Album, a collections of duets that was expressly written for his own children.  In 2005, I had the joy of performing Five Images, another duet collection, with a colleague.  I am currently searching for the video recording that was made of this recital; when I find it, I will be sure to upload it here.

For more detailed information about Norman Dello Joio, please visit his website. Unfortunately, it seems that this site has not been updated since 2004, but it still provides plenty of good information about his life and his compositions, as well as some audio samples of his piano works.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Sandra Moore Wacha
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 19:46:26

    It was difficult to read that Norman Dello Joio had died on July 24, 2008. For years I have loved playing and teaching his “Suite for Flute and Piano” which has become an essential piece in my teaching literature. I recently gave a copy of this piece to one of my adult students and that’s what made me look up his website and information. I would have loved to tell him directly how much he influenced my life over the past many years.

    Sincerely, Sandy


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