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Rollo A. Dilworth (born 1970) is an American choral composer, arranger, conductor, and music educator from St. Louis, Missouri.



Early education

Dilworth, as a young boy, was impassioned by singing experiences in his school and church choirs. At the age of 11, he began experimenting with the music he was given by testing out alternate pitches and rhythms. His elementary music teacher fostered this curiosity by realizing his work.[1] This period marked the beginning of his love for arranging music. At this time, he also began studying music theory and piano.[2] During his high school years, he quickly discovered that he wanted to pursue music as a career.[1]

Higher education

To fulfill his ambitions, Dilworth continued his education at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio. There, he continued his study of voice and piano and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education.[3] He spent a year teaching elementary school music full-time while also attending the University of Missouri-St. Louis to complete a master's degree in secondary education.[3] Throughout the program, Dilworth's long-time musical idol, Robert Ray, taught him composition and arranging skills. After completing the master's degree in 1994, Dilworth spent another year teaching elementary music. He then continued on to receive a DMA in conducting, this time studying with Robert Harris.[1]


Dilworth served as the director of the music education and choral programs at North Park University in Chicago, Illinois from 1996 to 2009.[4] In 1998, both Colla Voce and Hal Leonard contacted Dilworth, offering him publishing contracts.[1] Since then, Dilworth has had over 150 works published.[3] He has contributed to the Choir Builders series of choral textbooks and to the music magazine Music Express, [5] both of which are published by Hal Leonard. In 2003, he was the recipient of North Park University's Zenos Hawkinson Award for Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership.[6] After 2009, Dilworth accepted a position as a professor of music at Temple University in Pennsylvania.  He is the chair of the Music Education and Music Therapy department there. In 2017, he was honored with the Temple University Faculty Award for Research and Creative Achievement.[3] Dilworth has, through his compositional and educational endeavors, become an active participant in the domestic and international worlds of music.[7]

Style and influence

Both classical music and African-American folk music have influenced Dilworth's musical development and style. He recognizes Beethoven and Chopin as beloved classical icons in his life, but his compositional style is largely influenced by Gospel and Spiritual composers such as Robert Ray and Moses Hogan.[1] Dilworth also draws inspiration from African-American literary tradition. He has a particular affinity for the poetry of Langston Hughes and Paul Lawrence Dunbar,[8] a love which has moved him to compose settings of their texts.



Selected compositions and arrangements[9]

SATB Compositions

  • “America, The Dream”
  • “Freedom Train”
  • “Jordan’s Angels”
  • “Let Peace and Love Shine Through”
  • “Take me to the Water”
  • “When Dreams Take Flight”

SATB Arrangements

  • “I Sing Because I’m Happy”
  • “Jesus, What a Wonderful Child”
  • “Let Me Fly”
  • “Little David, play on your Harp”
  • “Oh! What a Beautiful City”

Selected discography

  • Good News (2008)[10]
    • “No Rocks-A-Cryin’”
    • “Keep On Travelin’”
    • “Take Me to The Water"
    • “Ain’t A That Good News”
    • “Jeremiah’s Fire!”
    • “Swinging’ Sweet Chariot”
    • “I Want Jesus to Walk with Me”
    • “How Can I Keep from Singing?”
    • “Witness for My Lord”
    • “De Gospel Train”
    • “Soon and Very Soon”
    • “Walk in Jerusalem”
    • “Ain’t A That Good News” (Instrumental)

Books and Articles3

  • Choir Builders: Fundamental Vocal Techniques for Classroom and General Use (2006)
  • Choir Builders for Growing Voices (2010)
  • Choir Builders for Growing Voices 2 (2014)
  • “Working with Male Adolescent Voices in the Choral Rehearsal: A Survey of Research-based Strategies” from Choral Journal, Vol. 52 No. 9 (April 2012), 23-33. (2012)

External linksEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e "The Inside Voice: An Interview with Rollo Dilworth | Cued In - The J.W. Pepper Music Blog". Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  2. ^ "the audience inCHOIRing". Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  3. ^ a b c d "Boyer College of Music and Dance | Temple University". Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  4. ^ "Rollo A. Dilworth: Bio & Choral Music | Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Inc". Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  5. ^ "2013 All-National Honor Ensembles Conductors - NAfME". NAfME. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  6. ^ HARTFORD, Submitted by Sonya Adams; WEST. "COMPOSER TEACHES CLASSES AT K-O". Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  7. ^ "Hal Leonard Online - Composer Biographies -". Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  8. ^ "Q&A with Rollo Dilworth". Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  9. ^ "Hal Leonard Online". Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  10. ^ Son, J.W. Pepper and. "Good News (Choral CD ) by Rollo Dilworth| J.W. Pepper Sheet Music". Retrieved 2018-11-16.