Joseph A. Santo holds a Doctor of
Musical Arts degree in Composition from The Catholic University of America where he was Assistant Dean for Academics and for
Graduate Studies at the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music (now the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art) from 2002
to 2018. In addition to his administrative duties, he also taught in the theory division of the music school.
The composer has been active in music education
since 1968 and a composer throughout his professional career. He has been the recipient of ASCAPlus Awards. He also holds active membership in The College
Music Society, The American Music Center, the Society of Composers, Inc., and the National Association for Music Education.
The composer has
written in a variety of genres, from solo works to chamber works to large scale compositions, including Vísperas
de la Santa Cruz, a concert Vespers for soloists, chorus, and orchestra, using texts in Latin, Spanish, and indigenous
Latin American languages.
The concert Vespers received its world premiere on April 3, 2011 in Washington, D.C.
and was the recipient of a generous grant from the Composer Assistance Program of the American Music Center. His
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, premiered in 2000, was also the recipient of a generous grant from The American
His song cycle for soprano and piano, entitled Rimas sacras, on medieval to
16th century Spanish texts, was premiered in 2003. His 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.
Prólogo y Canto for piano trio was performed at Weill Hall of Carnegie Hall, November 2010, as part of a concert
series sponsored by the La Gesse Foundation.
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.
His complete Catalog of Works appears in this website. His Lux refulget for choir and orchestra was premiered in
2012 by the choruses and orchestra of The Catholic University America. His Život v pravdě (Life
in Truth) for narrator and chamber orchestra, a project in collaboration with the Embassy of the Czech Republic to honor
President Václav Havel, was premiered in 2013 by the Trinity Chamber Orchestra, Washintgon, D.C.
His Trio for
flute, violoncello, and piano was premiered in 2018, as was his Quintet for Brass.
His work Malachey
Elyon, for recorded voices, tenor solo, and chamber orchestra and chorus is described in the "about
selected works" section of this website and in the catalog entry. It was premiered in 2008 and was again performed November
16, 2018 as part of The Catholic University of America's commemoration of the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht.
His most recent works include a sacred chamber opera entitled El Divino Orfeo,
on a text of the same title by Don Pedro Calderón de la Barca; an SATB a cappella work entitled Hymn to
the Almighty (Agios o Theos), using Greek texts; Sonata for chamber orchestra; Canticum Zachariae for
SATB chorus and chamber orchestra; Tres Historiae sancti Evangelii secundum Ioannem for vocal soloists, SATB
chorus, and chamber ensemble; Concerto for Violin, Viola, and Orchestra; Istampitte for orchestra;
Symphonia for orchestra; Ballade for symphonic band; Nightsong for flute and Bb clarinet,
scheduled to be performed in March 2023 at the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of The College Music Society.