David Del Tredici was a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer for the stage whose work was inspired by “Alice in Wonderland,” including his 1976 breakthrough work, “Final Alice,” which made him renowned as an “outsider” composer.
David Del Tredici’s legacy
Born in Cloverdale, California, Del Tredici wanted to be a pianist when he was 12. He studied the instrument at the University of California, Berkeley, where he attended the Aspen Music Festival and School. There, he discovered that he was better suited to composition than to performance, and soon began writing his own work.
Del Tredici found inspiration in the works of Lewis Carroll, most specifically, “The Annotated Alice” by Martin Gardner, which offered commentary on Carroll’s work. Pieces such as “Final Alice” and “Adventures Underground” followed. In 1980, “In Memory of a Summer Day,” part one of “Child Alice,” won a Pulitzer Prize for music.
When not composing, Del Tredici was instructing others in the art of music. He taught alongside Leon Kirchner at Harvard University, was Composer-In-Residence at the New York Philharmonic for three years, part of the faculty at City College of New York, and at various times taught at Yale University, Boston University, Juilliard School, and the University of Buffalo. Del Tredici was also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Tributes to David Del Tredici
Full obituary: The New York Times