Joseph Santo


  • Theory and Composition
  • School

  • Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art
  • Biography

    Joseph A. Santo holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Composition from The Catholic University of America where he is presently Assistant Dean for Academics and for Graduate Studies at the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music. In addition to his administrative duties, he also teaches in the Theory Division of the music school. The composer has been active in music education for forty years and a composer throughout his professional career.  He is a member of ASCAP and recipient of ASCAPlus Awards. He also holds active membership in the College Music Society, The American Music Center, and Music Educators National Conference. The composer has written in a variety of genres, from solo works to chamber works to large scale compositions His concert Vísperas de la Santa Cruz, for soloists, chorus, and orchestra, using texts in Latin, Spanish, and indigenous Latin American languages, and premiered April 3, 2011, has been the recipient of a generous grant from The American Music Center, through its Composer Assistance Program. His Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, premiered in 2000, was also the recipient of a grant from The American Music Center. Trois épiphanies, a three-movement work for piano solo, premiered in 2004, was chosen for performance at the 2006 Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference of the College Music Society. Malachey Elyon, for tenor solo, chorus, and orchestra, using recorded texts from a CUA radio broadcast of November 1938, received its premiere in March 2009. Though some of his compositional output has been in the twelve-tone serial tradition, he has in recent years found an idiom more suitable to his temperament, without necessarily entirely abandoning serialization of certain elements. His most recent works often use centric forces that may or may not employ semi-traditional verticalities. Rhythmic and technical complexities are characteristics of much of the output, providing challenging experiences to performers willing to take them on. Interest in religious tradition has provided the incentive for a number of sacred works. The composer’s lifelong interest in languages has given the stimulus for music using texts in Latin, Anglo-Saxon, medieval and modern French, Neapolitan, and Spanish, among others.

    Catalog of Works

    On a Theme of Rachmaninoff, for piano solo.
    Dialogui disparati, for Bb clarinet, piano, vibraphone, tam-tam, suspended cymbal, temple blocks, bongos, and conga.

    Le camp du drap d’or, for orchestra (with optional schola and recorder trio).
    Život v pravde, for narrator and chamber orchestra.

    Lux refulget, for SATB chorus and orchestra.

    Quintet for Brass
    De la pasión de nuestro Señor JhesúXristo,for soprano or tenor and piano.

    Curteggio a Atrani, for orchestra.
    Elogium in Nativitate Domini, for SATB chorus and orchestra.

    Malachey Elyon, for recorded spoken voices, tenor solo, SATB chorus, and orchestra. Premiered 2009.
    Pater superni luminis, for SATB chorus and piano or organ.

    Concerto for Piano, Violin, Violoncello, and Orchestra.

    Lux refulget, for SATB chorus and acoustic guitar.
    Our Father, which in heaven art, for SATB chorus and chamber orchestra (English and Anglo-Saxon texts). Commissioned by the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Murry Sidlin, Dean, as part of the 2006 President’s Concert, The Catholic University of America. Premiered 2006.

    Tre pregaríe, for tenor or soprano and piano (Neapolitan texts: the Lord’s Prayer, Angelic Salutation, and Doxology). Premiered 2010.
    Preghier’ ‘e surdàto, for tenor and piano (original Neapolitan text). Commissioned by the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Murry Sidlin, Dean, as part of the 2005 President’s Concert, The Catholic University of America. Premiered 2005.
    Concerto for Violin, Violoncello, Piano and Orchestra.

    Rimas sacras, for soprano and piano (texts: twelve Spanish poems from the 12th to 16th century). Premiered 2004.
    Trois épiphanies, for piano solo. Premiered 2004.

    Cuatro cánticas de loores de Santa María, for four soloists (SATB) and piano (texts: Juan Ruiz, arcipreste de Hita). Premiered 2010.
    Solsticios y equinoccios, for violin and string orchestra.

    Vísperas de la Santa Cruz, for four soloists, SATB chorus, and orchestra. Rabelais Printing. Premiered 2011. Funded in part by a grant from The American Music Center.

    Prólogo y Canto, for violin, violoncello, and piano. Premiered 1999.
    The Great Antiphons, for piano solo. Commissioned.

    Éclat, for double woodwind quintet. Commissioned by The Catholic University of America Chamber Winds. Premiered 1997.

    Quatre poèmes de Christine de Pisan, for soprano and piano. Commissioned by soprano Cecilia Di Marco. Premiered 1997.

    Hommage à François Rabelais, for bassoon and piano.
    Concerto for Piano and Orchestra. Premiered 2001. Funded in part by a grant from The American Music Center.

    Veni, Sancte Spiritus, for SATB chorus, brass, percussion, and organ (text: Roman liturgy, Sequence from the Mass for Pentecost Sunday). (Original version for SATB chorus and orchestra, 1983)
    Sept berceuses, for violin, violoncello, and piano. Premiered 1992.

    Ophélie, for soprano, flute, and piano (text by Arthur Rimbaud). Premiered 1990.

    Sonate-Tableau, for oboe, horn in F, violin, violoncello, soprano, and piano (text: Recueillement, by Charles
    Baudelaire). Premiered 1990.

    Canzone 'e copp' 'o tammurro, for tenor and piano (text: five anonymous Neapolitan poems). Premiered 1980.
    (Version for tenor and piano quintet won First Prize, David Lloyd Kreeger Creativity Award.)

    Canticum Judith, for four soloists, SATB chorus, and orchestra (text: Book of Judith, chapter 16, verses 1-17).

    Concerto for English Horn and Orchestra.

    Dodekaphonai, for oboe, clarinet, horn in F, bassoon, and piano.

    Mouvements concertants, for woodwind quintet and string orchestra. Premiered 1983.
    Antiphonae Beatae Mariae Virginis, for SATB a cappella chorus. Premiered 1992. Rabelais Printing.
    In Nocturno, for tenor and orchestra (text: First Nocturne of Matins from the Officium Defunctorum). Premiered 1984.

    Musique à deux pour deux orchestres de chambre.
    Music for Liturgy: Holy, for voice, trumpet, and organ; Doxology, for voice and organ; Antiphon for Psalm 139,
    for voices and organ; Canticle: 1 Peter 2: 21-24, for voices and organ; Hymn in Honor of St. Joseph (text: Te Joseph celebrent).

    Hoc Enim Sentite In Vobis, essay for orchestra.
    Scherzino, for woodwind quintet.
    Two Etudes, for piano. Premiered 1981.

    String Quartet.

    Correspondances, for soprano and string orchestra (text: Charles Baudelaire). Premiered 1983.
    Woodwind Quartet. Premiered 1983.

    Faeder Ure, for TTBB chorus and piano (text: The Lord's Prayer in Anglo-Saxon). Premiered 1979. (SSAA, 2000.)
    Trisagion, for TTBB chorus and piano (text: Improperia from the Good Friday Liturgy).
    Overture to the Duchess of Malfi, for symphonic band. Premiered 1979.

    Prelude and Aria, for symphonic band. Premiered 1978.

    Rhapsody for Band. Premiered 1976.