Hailed by Gramophone Magazine for his “vibrantly colorful palette” and "exquisite piano-playing," composer Henry Dehlinger is a spectacular new arrival on the classical scene who "stands out from the crowd" for his gorgeous choral and orchestral concert music as much as for his art songs.
His compositional voice expresses a modern yet tonal American aesthetic that joins together classical and vernacular elements. Henry renders strong, unique themes and leitmotifs from a diverse palette of musical styles that reflect the words he sets and emotional responses he means to elicit.
He weaves these musical fragments into meaningful aural experiences. Soaring melodies and complex harmonic idioms are, at once, dramatic and meditative. Audiophile Audition calls his work “stunningly superb” and "formidably essential listening!"
This season, Henry's list of premieres include a dramatic concert work for voice and orchestra, an extended choral work in five movements, two chamber works, three choral pieces and a new art song cycle of ten songs.
Amore e 'l cor gentil sono una cosa (Love and the gentle heart are one and the same) made its world premiere at the 2019 Berkshire High Peaks Music Festival in Great Barrington, MA. Henry wrote it for two special friends who decided to get married in Florence. What better text could he set than a love sonnet from La vita nuova by Dante, the Florentine philosopher-poet par excellence? Sung in the original Italian, it is a love duet for soprano, baritone and string chamber ensemble.
Night Piece, Strings in the Earth and Air, and Bahnhofstrasse—Henry's new choral settings of poems by James Joyce—made their world premieres on October 27, 2019 at the Washington Master Chorale’s 10th Anniversary Season opening concert with Thomas Colohan conducting.
Night Piece is a haunting choral meditation that swells into a tender exultation of the night sky with soaring melodies and lush harmonies. Strings in the Earth and Air is a jazz-inspired hymn of nature with sparkling piano accompaniment and impressionist overtones. Bahnhofstrasse is a recollection of the feelings associated with loss of youth. Four-part vocal lines float wistfully over a minimalist piano accompaniment that steadily reiterates a simple, eerie motif.
Night Piece, Strings in the Earth and Air and Bahnhofstrasse were originally part of an art song cycle—Ten Poems of James Joyce—which Henry composed during the winter and spring of 2019. Ten Poems premiered on February 9, 2019 at George Mason University's Harris Theater in Fairfax, VA in an all-Dehlinger program presented by the School of Music, bass-baritone Kerry Wilkerson and soprano Danielle Talamantes.
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock premieres on April 20, 2020 with conductor Piotr Gajewski leading the National Philharmonic at Strathmore. Metropolitan Opera soprano and National Philharmonic audience favorite Danielle Talamantes, for whose voice Henry wrote the piece, sings the solo part. Adapted from the poem by T.S. Eliot, it is a sweeping 21st century rhapsody that uses the melodic and rhythmic contours of Eliot's stream-of-consciousness narrative to dictate mood and melodic character.
Kohelet, Henry's new cantata in five movements for mixed chorus and orchestra, makes its world premiere on May 8, 2020 at Mission Santa Clara de Asís on the campus of Santa Clara University, Henry's alma mater in Northern California. Co-commissioned by the Santa Clara Chorale and Washington Master Chorale, Kohelet combines lush, modal melodies, energetic meters, and colorful harmonic textures with Hebrew text drawn from Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs.
Henry's cross-genre work, especially his arrangements of the Duke Ellington Songbook, with their melodic lines and stylish vocal and piano writing throughout, are equally lauded. Fanfare Magazine describes them as, "superbly judged, from the lyricism through to the stride . . . Dehlinger's own arrangement expands the envelope of the original to a more intense experience." Audiophile Audition describes them as "a knock-your-socks-off performance that leaves you hankering for much, much more."
As a performer, Henry has appeared on leading stages from the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco to the White House and has performed 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. ConcertoNet.com calls him “an experienced and versatile soloist." MusicWeb International praises his "delicious piano playing," and Audiophile Audition, his "adroit and sparkling" performances.
His recordings have also received wide and critical acclaim. In 2011, he released his first album, Evocations of Spain, featuring a performance 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 City world premiere and Midwest premiere with the Manchester Symphony Orchestra.
In the fall of 2019, Henry went back to the studio with Danielle Talamantes and Kerry Wilkerson to record an all-Dehlinger CD featuring brand-new duets and art songs written especially for the duo.
Born in San Francisco, Henry grew up studying piano and voice. His mentors were piano virtuoso Thomas LaRatta and choral conductor William "Doc" Ballard, artistic director of the San Francisco Boys Chorus, both of whom Henry credits for his early success.
He quickly 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.
Henry is a voting member of The Recording Academy—organizer of the GRAMMY Awards—and ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). He and his wife Lauren divide their time between their home in Northern Virginia, just outside Washington, DC, and California.