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James Dalton

Music Education; Music Theory Faculty

James Dalton earned a B.A. with honors from Rutgers and a M.M. from the University of Idaho. He studied composition with Louie White, Neely Bruce, Robert Dickow and Dan Bukvich; and guitar with Michael Newman and John Abercrombie.

Dalton performs on guitar, mandolin, banjo, and other plucked string instruments with soprano Maggi Smith-Dalton, specializing in historically informed performance of 19th and 20th century American music. They have released four recordings. He freelances in orchestral, chamber music, new music, and theater/opera pit orchestra settings. He performed with the 92nd Street "Y" Chamber Orchestra, Indian Hill Symphony, and the New England Mandolin Ensemble. He is a member of Viewpoint Composers' Gamelan at Harvard.

Dalton's compositions have been performed throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe by Idaho Brass, Providence Mandolin Orchestra, Enigmatica, Toronto Camerata, Ensemble Decadanse, Transient Canvas, Scottish Voices, Paul Ayres, Aaron Larget-Caplan, and Carson Cooman at the Kansas Symposium of New Music, Musiques Nouvelles (Lunel, France), and Sound: the Scottish Festival of New Music (Aberdeen, Scotland). In 1997, he won first prize in the Toronto Camerata Competition. His compositions for carillon have been included in two anthologies, The Albany Carillon Book and Carillon 2002 and his organ composition, Sestina for G.F.H., was recorded by Carson Cooman on the Albany CD, A Marvelous Love (2012).

As a music theorist, Dalton's interests and research have ranged from palindromes and symmetrical musical structures to just intonation and microtonality. He has presented at conferences in the U.S. and abroad including the Northeast Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology, the Society for American Music, the Macro Analysis Creative Research Organization, and Beyond the Semitone (Aberdeen, Scotland).

He has published articles (mostly on American music) in the Salem Gazette, Boston Globe, and The Arts Fuse. He contributed to Music in American Life (ABC-CLIO) and a forthcoming book on the early banjo. He is the author of Mandolin for Beginners (Alfred 2001).

Dalton formerly served on the faculties of the National Guitar Workshop, Cape Cod Mandolin Festival, University of Idaho, Philadelphia College, and Merrimack College. He is a member of the New England Conference of Music Theorists, the Society of American Music, the Augusto Novaro Society, Classical Mandolin Society of America, Boston New Music Initiative, and Pi Kappa Lambda.

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