David DiChiera

David DiChiera

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David DiChiera is an American composer
Composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

 and founding general director of Michigan Opera Theatre
Michigan Opera Theatre
Michigan Opera Theatre is Michigan's principal opera company. The company is based in Detroit, where it performs in the Detroit Opera House. Each year it presents an opera and dance season. The company usually presents five operas in their original language with English supertitles and hosts five...

.

Career


DiChiera , son of Italian
Italian people
The Italian people are an ethnic group that share a common Italian culture, ancestry and speak the Italian language as a mother tongue. Within Italy, Italians are defined by citizenship, regardless of ancestry or country of residence , and are distinguished from people...

 immigrants
Immigration
Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence...

, was raised in Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

, California and graduated with highest honors from UCLA
University of California, Los Angeles
The University of California, Los Angeles is a public research university located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, USA. It was founded in 1919 as the "Southern Branch" of the University of California and is the second oldest of the ten campuses...

 in 1956. When he received a Master's degree
Master's degree
A master's is an academic degree granted to individuals who have undergone study demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice...

 in Composition
Musical composition
Musical composition can refer to an original piece of music, the structure of a musical piece, or the process of creating a new piece of music. People who practice composition are called composers.- Musical compositions :...

 at UCLA, he was selected to be a Fulbright scholar
Fulbright Program
The Fulbright Program, including the Fulbright-Hays Program, is a program of competitive, merit-based grants for international educational exchange for students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists, founded by United States Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946. Under the...

 for studies in Italy where he conducted extensive research on unpublished manuscripts of eighteenth century opera. This led to a series of articles for the world's leading music encyclopedias including Ricordi's
Casa Ricordi
Casa Ricordi is a classical music publishing company founded in 1808 as G. Ricordi & Co. by violinist Giovanni Ricordi in Milan, Italy...

 Enciclopedia Della Musica, Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians is an encyclopedic dictionary of music and musicians. Along with the German-language Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, it is the largest single reference work on Western music. The dictionary has gone through several editions since the 19th century...

and Bärenreiter
Bärenreiter
Bärenreiter is a German classical music publishing house based in Kassel. The firm was founded by Karl Vötterle in Augsburg in 1923, and moved to Kassel in 1927, where it still maintains headquarters; it also has offices in Basel, London, New York and Prague...

's Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart
Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart
Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart is the largest and most comprehensive German music encyclopedia, and among Western music reference sources, only the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians is comparable to it in size and scope...

.

Returning to UCLA, DiChiera worked there as an instructor and received his Ph.D.
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

 in Musicology
Musicology
Musicology is the scholarly study of music. The word is used in narrow, broad and intermediate senses. In the narrow sense, musicology is confined to the music history of Western culture...

. In 1962, DiChiera joined the faculty of music of the newly established Oakland University
Oakland University
Oakland University is a public university co-founded by Matilda Dodge Wilson and John A. Hannah whose campus is located in central Oakland County, Michigan, United States in the cities of Auburn Hills and Rochester Hills. It is the only major research university in Oakland County, from which OU...

 in Rochester, Michigan. From 1963 to 1965, he also held the post of Assistant Dean
Dean (education)
In academic administration, a dean is a person with significant authority over a specific academic unit, or over a specific area of concern, or both...

 for Continuing Education in the Arts at Oakland University and was thereafter elected Chairman of the Department of Music.

In 1971 DiChiera became the founding General Director of Michigan Opera Theatre
Michigan Opera Theatre
Michigan Opera Theatre is Michigan's principal opera company. The company is based in Detroit, where it performs in the Detroit Opera House. Each year it presents an opera and dance season. The company usually presents five operas in their original language with English supertitles and hosts five...

. At the same time, he became the founding Artistic Director of the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts
Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts
The Music Hall Center for Performing Arts is a 1,700-seat theatre located in the city's theatre district at 350 Madison Avenue in Detroit, Michigan...

. From 1979 to 1983 DiChiera served as president of Opera America
Opera America
Opera America, officially OPERA America, is a service organization in North America promoting the creation, presentation, and enjoyment of opera...

. In this role, he developed the Lila Wallace
Lila Bell Wallace
Lila Bell Wallace was a United States magazine publisher.Born as Lila Bell Acheson, her father was a Presbyterian minister who brought his family to the USA when she was a child, and she grew up in the Midwest...

 Reader's Digest Fund/Opera for a New America Program
, which encouraged and supported companies to reach previously under-addressed segments of the population, and served to build bridges into America’s increasingly diverse population.

From 1981 to 1993, DiChiera was appointed Artistic Director of the Dayton Opera
Dayton Opera
Dayton Opera is an American opera company based in Dayton, Ohio. The company makes its home at the Schuster Center in downtown Dayton where it annually produces three operas and an operatic concert and has an annual budget of approximately $2 million...

 Association. In 1986 he was appointed founding General Director of the newly formed Opera Pacific
Opera Pacific
Opera Pacific was an opera company located in the Orange County, California, United States city of Santa Ana. It operated for 22 seasons before closing in 2008 after several seasons of deepening financial difficulties.-History:...

 in Orange County; he filled that post until 1996, when he resigned to devote more time to the opening of the Detroit Opera House
Detroit Opera House
The Detroit Opera House is an opera house located in Detroit, Michigan. It is the venue for all Michigan Opera Theatre productions and it hosts a variety of other events. It opened on January 22, 1922....

.

In April 1996, noted opera singer Joan Sutherland
Joan Sutherland
Dame Joan Alston Sutherland, OM, AC, DBE was an Australian dramatic coloratura soprano noted for her contribution to the renaissance of the bel canto repertoire from the late 1950s through to the 1980s....

 cut the ribbon to celebrate the grand opening of the restored Detroit Opera House
Detroit Opera House
The Detroit Opera House is an opera house located in Detroit, Michigan. It is the venue for all Michigan Opera Theatre productions and it hosts a variety of other events. It opened on January 22, 1922....

 under DiChiera's stewardship.

During his career, David DiChiera has served as a trustee for the National Institute of Music Theatre and as a board member of the American Arts Alliance. He has been a panel member for the National Endowment for the Arts
National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent agency of the United States federal government that offers support and funding for projects exhibiting artistic excellence. It was created by an act of the U.S. Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. Its current...

 (NEA) and chairman for the Opera/Musical Theater Panel. He has also chaired several national music conferences. DiChiera chaired the second annual conference of the International Association of Lyric Theatre, convened in Verona
Verona
Verona ; German Bern, Dietrichsbern or Welschbern) is a city in the Veneto, northern Italy, with approx. 265,000 inhabitants and one of the seven chef-lieus of the region. It is the second largest city municipality in the region and the third of North-Eastern Italy. The metropolitan area of Verona...

, Italy, and was twice elected vice president of that organization.

He has two daughters with Karen VanderKloot DiChiera, daughter of Robert VanderKloot, a Detroit amateur musician and himself
a founding member of the Michigan Opera Theatre. Karen VanderKloot DiChiera, a composer, educator and stage director, is also a founder and director of Michigan Opera Theatre's Department of Community Programs.

Works


His Four Sonnets (1965), to verses by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Edna St. Vincent Millay was an American lyrical poet, playwright and feminist. She received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and was known for her activism and her many love affairs. She used the pseudonym Nancy Boyd for her prose work...

 composed for soprano
Soprano
A soprano is a voice type with a vocal range from approximately middle C to "high A" in choral music, or to "soprano C" or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody...

 and piano, premiered in 1978 at the Kennedy Center
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is a performing arts center located on the Potomac River, adjacent to the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C...

 in Washington to critical acclaim. A children's opera, Rumpelstiltskin (1973), written in collaboration with Karen VanderKloot DiChiera, has been performed nationally. In 2007 his opera Cyrano
Cyrano (opera)
Cyrano is an opera in three acts by David DiChiera to a libretto in French by Bernard Uzan, based on the play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. The opera premiered on 13 October 2007 at the Michigan Opera Theatre. It was then given February 8–17, 2008 at the Opera Company of Philadelphia...

to a libretto
Libretto
A libretto is the text used in an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata, or musical. The term "libretto" is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as mass, requiem, and sacred cantata, or even the story line of a...

 by Bernard Uzan received its world premiere at the Detroit Opera House;
this work was successfully presented by Opera Company of Philadelphia
Opera Company of Philadelphia
The Opera Company of Philadelphia is an American opera company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is the city's only company producing grand opera. The organization produces four fully staged opera productions annually, encompassing works from the seventeenth through the 21st century...

 in 2008 and will premiere at Florida Grand Opera
Florida Grand Opera
Florida Grand Opera is an American opera company based in Miami, Florida. FGO was created in 1994 from the consolidation of two opera companies in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale region:...

 in 2011.

Awards


DiChiera was awarded the Atwater Kent (UCLA) and Gershwin Awards. The Detroit News
The Detroit News
The Detroit News is one of the two major newspapers in the U.S. city of Detroit, Michigan. The paper began in 1873, when it rented space in the rival Free Press's building. The News absorbed the Detroit Tribune on February 1, 1919, the Detroit Journal on July 21, 1922, and on November 7, 1960,...

elected DiChiera "Michiganian of the Year" in 1979. In 2000 he received the "Bridge Builder's Award" by the "Partners for Livable Communities", a Washington–based civic leadership organization. In 2005, the "National Association of Negro Musicians" honored DiChiera for his continued support of African American artists. DiChiera delivered the commencement speech
Commencement speech
A commencement speech or commencement address is a speech given to graduating students, generally at a university, although the term is also used for secondary education institutions. The "commencement" is a ceremony in which degrees or diplomas are conferred upon graduating students...

 at the University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...

's graduation ceremony in 1998 and was awarded an honorary
Honorary degree
An honorary degree or a degree honoris causa is an academic degree for which a university has waived the usual requirements, such as matriculation, residence, study, and the passing of examinations...

 Doctor of Music
Doctor of Music
The Doctor of Music degree , like other doctorates, is an academic degree of the highest level. The D.Mus. is intended for musicians and composers who wish to combine the highest attainments in their area of specialization with doctoral-level academic study in music...

 degree. He has also received honorary doctorates from Wayne State University
Wayne State University
Wayne State University is a public research university located in Detroit, Michigan, United States, in the city's Midtown Cultural Center Historic District. Founded in 1868, WSU consists of 13 schools and colleges offering more than 400 major subject areas to over 32,000 graduate and...

, Oakland University
Oakland University
Oakland University is a public university co-founded by Matilda Dodge Wilson and John A. Hannah whose campus is located in central Oakland County, Michigan, United States in the cities of Auburn Hills and Rochester Hills. It is the only major research university in Oakland County, from which OU...

 and Marygrove College
Marygrove College
Marygrove College is an independent, Catholic, liberal arts college located in Detroit, Michigan. The college is sponsored by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.-History:...

. In 2010, DiChiera received the NEA
National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent agency of the United States federal government that offers support and funding for projects exhibiting artistic excellence. It was created by an act of the U.S. Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. Its current...

Opera Honors.