On May 20th, 2018, Cor Cantiamo performed the world premiere of Dominick DiOrio’s new work, “When Did We See You?” at St. James Cathedral, Chicago.
Dominick DiOrio is an innovative young composer and conductor who has won widespread acclaim for his contributions to American music. Whether leading an ensemble or crafting a new score, DiOrio brings equal passion and determination to his work in choral and instrumental music.
DiOrio has been hailed for an intelligent, evocative composing style, which shows “a tour de force of inventive thinking and unique colour” (Gramophone). In 2014, DiOrio won the American Prize in Composition. His works have appeared at major American venues including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.
DiOrio earned his DMA, MMA, and MM degrees in conducting from the Yale School of Music, and his BM in composition from Ithaca College. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Chorus America, President-Elect for the National Collegiate Choral Organization, and Chair of the Standing Committee on Composition Initiatives for ACDA.
“When Did We See you” is a bluesy, spiritual, a cappella work for mixed chorus and soprano solo, based on the social justice text from The Gospel of Matthew. DiOrio’s music borrows from the tradition of the blues, with all of the scales, the call-and-response textures, and the 12-bar form that make the genre so resonant.
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
The SDG Music Foundation and Kaye Filkin commissioned this work from DiOrio, in honor of the 80th birthday of Dr. Richard Gieser, SDG’s Board Chairman Emerita, “in recognition of his lifelong and worldwide mission to bring light to those in darkness.” It is an especially fitting tribute to this eye surgeon who has made it a lifetime mission to travel to underprivileged countries, performing eye surgery and restoring sight for untold numbers of people.
The world premiere was part of the spring 2018 choral concert performed by Cor Cantiamo, under the direction of Eric A. Johnson, DMA, Director of Choral Activities at Northern Illinois University. This professional, 24-voice touring choral ensemble was founded with the mission to perform and promote contemporary choral music and foster new composers for the art form. Since their inception in the spring of 2009, the choir has emerged as an energetic and accomplished vocal ensemble, receiving accolades for their performances. Cor Cantiamo has recorded SDG’s Psalms Project commissions on their Psallite CD and the forthcoming Psallite II.
Cor Cantiamo with Dominick DiOrio (center), at their dress rehearsal for their May 20th 2018 concert in St. James Cathedral, Chicago.