David Del Tredici was born in 1937. He began his musical studies at the University of California at Berkley and later went on to earn his M.F.A. in 1964 at Princeton University. He went on to teach at Harvard University, the University of Buffalo, Boston University, and The Julliard School. He has been a member of the Music Faculty at the City College of New York since 1984 and is now is a Distinguished Professor of Music.
Musically, Del Tredici work has gone through many stylistic changes, but one thing is constant: his music is always influenced by literature. He has written music using texts from authors from Rumi to James Joyce to Bram Stoker, but is most well known for his work inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Del Tredici used these stories for many of his pieces, the most famous of which, In Memory of a Summer Day, won him the Pulitzer Prize in 1980. He also earned many other honors for his music including Guggenheim and Woodrow Wilson fellowships, the Brandeis and Friedheim Awards, grants from the NEA, and election to The American Academy of Arts and Letters. From 1988-1990 he was the Composer-in-Residence with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Del Tedici has just recently come out as a persuasive voice in the gay community and has started to compose music relating to the "urban contemporary-tormented relationships, personal transformations, and the joys and sorrows of gay life."