Henry Dehlinger


Composer Henry Dehlinger

COMPOSER HENRY DEHLINGER (photo by bill bramble)

Henry Dehlinger is an American composer of contemporary classical music notable for its stylistic diversity, soaring melodies and complex harmonic idioms. Gramophone Magazine, the world's authority on classical music, lauds him for his “vibrantly colorful palette.” Audiophile Audition describes his output as "formidably essential listening!"

Dehlinger’s compositional style synthesizes classical and vernacular elements. He pens strong, discernible themes and recurring motifs, drawing from a tonal palette of diverse musical styles and genres that reflect the text he is setting to music and emotional responses he means to elicit. These rich melodic and harmonic textures are then woven into a coherent aural tapestry.

Dehlinger's personal musical language is especially evident in his orchestral and choral works making their premieres in the 2019-20 season:

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is a sweeping rhapsody for voice and orchestra that suggests the symphonic American vernacular of 20th century composers like Howard Hanson, Samuel Barber and Leonard Bernstein. Adapted from the poem by T. S. Eliot and composed especially for Metropolitan Opera soprano Danielle Talamantes, it uses the melodic and rhythmic contours of Eliot's stream-of-consciousness narrative to dictate mood and melodic character. It will make its premiere with the National Philharmonic at Strathmore under the direction of Piotr Gajewski.

Kohelet ("The Preacher") is a cantata in four movements, conceived in the tradition of Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms and commissioned jointly by the Washington Master Chorale and Santa Clara Chorale. A setting of Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs, it combines Biblical Hebrew text with mixed choir, bass-baritone solo, soprano solo, and instrumental forces, and features lush, modal melodies and graceful, if unusual meters. From the vigorous, scherzo-like dance in septuple meter of Ecclesiastes 1 (“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!”) to the ecstatic love duet of Songs 1 and 2 (“Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you graze your flock?”), Kohelet is an ecumenical blend of Hebrew antiphonal singing and Christian choral tradition.

Dehlinger's sensitive arrangements of the Duke Ellington Songbook, with their melodic lines and stylish vocal and piano writing throughout, are equally lauded. Audiophile Audition calls them, “stunningly superb, each and every one." Fanfare Magazine describes them as, "superbly judged, from the lyricism through to the stride,” and concludes, "Dehlinger's own arrangement expands the envelope of the original to a more intense experience."

Gramophone Magazine also praises Dehlinger for his “exquisite piano-playing.” He has appeared on leading stages throughout the United States, from the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco to the White House. ConcertoNet.com describes him as "an experienced and versatile soloist." MusicWeb International praises his "delicious piano playing," and Audiophile Audition, his "adroit and sparkling" performances.

He has appeared as featured soloist with The United States Army Chorus, guest performer on Washington’s Embassy Row, and in concert for dignitaries, including the President of the United States and the Prince of Wales.

Dehlinger has won wide acclaim as an interpreter of Spanish music. In 2011, he released his first album, Evocations of Spain, featuring a selection of piano works from Iberia and Chants d'Espagne by Isaac Albéniz and Goyescas and Twelve Spanish Dances by Enrique Granados. He followed that up with several collaborations with soprano Danielle Talamantes: Canciones españolas: Granados, Falla, Turina  (2014), Heaven and Earth: A Duke Ellington Songbook  (2016), and The Mount  (2016), an original composition commissioned by The Casement Fund that received a resounding ovation at its New York world premiere.

Born in San Francisco, Dehlinger grew up studying piano and voice. His first mentors were the late conductor and choirmaster Dr. William Ballard, artistic director of the San Francisco Boys Chorus, and piano virtuoso Thomas LaRatta, founder of the Crestmont Conservatory of Music, both of whom he credits for his early success. Dehlinger earned a reputation as a prodigious talent, performing with major orchestras under conductors such as Riccardo Chailly and Edo de Waart and enchanting audiences with inspired interpretations of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Concerto in F.

Dehlinger is an MSR Classics recording artist and voting member of The Recording Academy—organizer of the GRAMMY® Awards—and ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers).

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Support the Prufrock Fund! 

Support the Prufrock Fund! 

Join the National Phil and support the premiere of Henry Dehlinger's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: A Rhapsody for Voice and Orchestra. Composed for soprano Danielle Talamantes.

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