Born in New Britain, Connecticut, Paul Salerni was educated at Amherst College where he studied with Lew Spratlan and received a doctorate from Harvard where he studied with Earl Kim. He is a passionate proponent of Kim’s music, and although his music rarely sounds like Kim’s, it’s lyrical and direct quality stems from his close association with the man and his music. The other influence in Salerni’s musical voice is Miles Davis, and so his song cycles and operas either synthesize or juxtapose a delicate and touching minimalism with an exuberant jazziness.
The preponderance of his song texts come from his constant collaborator, poet Dana Gioia. He has written a song cycle solely on Gioia’s texts (Speaking of Love) and two other song cycles (Sad Stories, Bad Pets) that have one of Gioia’s poems as their centerpiece. Salerni’s most often performed song is a setting of Gioia’s most popular poem, “Money.” In addition, Salerni and Gioia have written a choral trilogy, two Italian fables for narrator and orchestra, and a one-act opera, Tony Caruso’s Final Broadcast, the winner of the 2007 NOA Chamber Opera competition. They are presently writing a one-act opera/ballet based on Gioia’s poem “The Room Upstairs.”
For interested visitors, scores may be obtained from Domilo Music LLC