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Classical: Piano solo Classical: Twentieth Century Moods: Solo Instrumental

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United States - United States

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HENRY DEHLINGER is an American composer and pianist hailed by Gramophone Magazine for his “vibrantly colorful palette” and “exquisite piano-playing.”

He has evolved his own contemporary classical music style, wonderfully exemplified in his magnum opus, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, a brand-new setting of T. S. Eliot’s seminal poem, composed for the beautiful lyric voice of Metropolitan Opera soprano Danielle Talamantes. His sensitive arrangements of Duke Ellington’s music with their melodic lines and stylish vocal and piano writing throughout are equally lauded, with Audiophile Audition calling them “stunningly superb, each and every one,” and “Formidably essential listening!”

In his Prufrock, Dehlinger combines engaging vocal and instrumental textures with contrasting moods and colors that complement Eliot’s stream of consciousness narrative. Composed as a one-movement rhapsody for high voice and orchestra, it suggests the symphonic American vernacular of composers like Howard Hanson, Samuel Barber, and Leonard Bernstein.

Dehlinger makes judicious use of polystylism, a growing trend in 21st century music in which elements from diverse musical genres or styles are combined. “I start by sketching out discernable themes and recurring motifs,” Dehlinger explains, “pulling together elements from different musical styles that best reflect the emotional responses I want to elicit. Then I weave these melodic and harmonic fragments into a coherent aural experience. You might even hear hints of my Duke Ellington arrangements exerting a subtle but clear stylistic influence.”

God is in the details when he crafts the sound of a tonal phrase. For example, when the poem’s protagonist begins musing upon “the mermaids singing, each to each,” Dehlinger utilizes an unusual blend of extended techniques: artificial harmonic glissandi in the cello part combined with an ocean drum. The result is a remarkable simulation of the sounds of the seashore as seagulls and ocean waves billow through the rich orchestral tapestry.

As a performer, Dehlinger has appeared on leading stages throughout the United States, from the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco to the White House. describes him as "an experienced and versatile soloist." MusicWeb International praises his "delicious piano playing," and Audiophile Audition, his "adroit and sparkling" performances. He has appeared 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.

Dehlinger won wide acclaim as an adroit interpreter of Spanish music. In 2011, he released his first album, Evocations of Spain, featuring a selection 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 Canciones españolas: Granados, Falla, Turina (2014), Heaven and Earth: A Duke Ellington Songbook (2016), and The Mount (2016), a recording of his first original composition commissioned by The Casement Fund as part of its Triad Grant prize, and which received a resounding ovation at its New York City world premiere. He is an MSR Classics recording artist and voting member of The Recording Academy—organizer of the GRAMMY® Awards—and ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers).

Born in San Francisco, Dehlinger grew up studying voice and piano. His first mentors were the late conductor and choirmaster William Ballard of the San Francisco Boys Chorus and piano virtuoso Thomas LaRatta, founder of the Crestmont Conservatory of Music. Dehlinger credits both for his musical success. He 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.

Dehlinger’s last concert appearance as a boy soprano was delightfully comical. “I was eleven years old, and it was a full house,” he recalls, smiling. “I started the opening notes of the Bernstein Chichester Psalms, the second movement solo, when my voice suddenly cracked! I should have been mortified, but I was annoyed more than anything else. Turns out my voice had changed—at that very moment—and I couldn’t sing a lick.”

Unflinching, he received a standing ovation!