American Mavericks

David Del Tredici

(b. Cloverdale, California, March 16 1937)

David Del Tredici grew up in a small town north of San Francisco, studying piano with Bernhard Abramowitsch in Berkeley and Robert Helps in New York. Twice he was soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, playing Mendelssohn with Enrique Jordá and Saint-Saëns with Arthur Fiedler. Happy Voices, commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony, was introduced at the opening of Davies Symphony Hall in 1980, the year another of his works, In Memory of a Summer Day, was awarded the Pulitzer prize. Another Symphony commission, Gay Life, was introduced in the spring of 2001.

In composition, he started out as a “modernist” but discovered his unique identity in a series of tone pictures based on Alice in Wonderland – music in which, says the lexicographer Nicolas Slonimsky, he projected “overt tonal proclamations, fanfares, and pretty tunes that were almost embarrassingly attractive, becoming melodiouser and harmoniouser with each consequent tone portrait of Alice.”

An Interview with David del Tredici

Interviews from the “American Mavericks” series (c) (p) American Mavericks Public Media. Used with permission. All rights reserved.