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​Dary John Mizelle (born June 14, 1940 in Stillwater, Oklahoma) is an American composer of avant-garde classical and jazz music. Mizelle studied trombone (B.A. California State University, Sacramento) as well as composition (M.A. University of California, Davis, Ph.D. University of California, San Diego) and while at U.C. Davis participated in the New Music Ensemble (a pioneering free improvisation group that dispensed with scores). He was an original member of the group that founded SOURCE--music of the avant garde magazine. His mentors include: Larry Austin, Richard Swift, Jerome Rosen, Karlheinz Stockhausen, David Tudor, Roger Reynolds, Robert Erickson, Pauline Oliveros, and Kenneth Gaburo.
His music involves mastery of instrumental, electronic and vocal resources as well as his own performance on several different instruments and voice. He works in many different genres and media. His SPANDA project consists of thirteen days of music with a coherent macrostructure, which includes music theater, opera, orchestra works, choral works, electronic music, chamber music, solo instrumental and vocal music as well as combinations and integrations of all these.
A prolific composer with works in all media, he has composed over 450 compositions and more than 40 jazz tunes. He refers to his music as "multidimensional" in scope and practices his musical art in multiple tuning systems ("macrotonality") and simultaneous tonal, modal and atonal systems ("polyatonality") as well as multiple rhythmic systems (systemic polyrhythm). His electronic music uses the techniques he refers to as "microsynthesis" (mixing of very short - less than 50 millisecond - elements of different sonic energy components) and "isomorphic synthesis" (the compression of musical macrostructure to the level of waveforms) as well as more conventional techniques such as additive synthesis, granular synthesis and timbral transformation of acoustical sounds.
He has held academic appointments at University of South Florida, Oberlin Conservatory of Music where he was head of the Technology In Music And Related Arts (TIMARA) program, and State University of New York at Purchase where he was Chair of the Composition Program.  He makes his home in Westchester County, New York.


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Recent in NYC area:


Piano Fantasy II

performed by David Holzman, piano on October 8, 2013 at C.W. Post campus of  Long Island University, October 27, 2013 at Adelphi University,  and November 10, 2013 Queens College. 



Duets in the Dark with Jeanann Dara, viola

December 15, 2013 10:00pm at:

The Firehouse Space

246 Frost St, Brooklyn, New York 11211


Biography Reviews Accolades

Dary John Mizelle “is a successor to the spiritual-experimental tradition of Ives and Cage.”  His music “gripped the listener with a sensation that was neither purely or merely musical, but went straight into the body.”  Kyle Gann, Village Voice 


"Polyphonies I...combines the remarkable breath sounds possible on the Japanese shakuhachi with an equally remarkable set of electronic sounds."

Tom Johnson, Village Voice


"Merging of textures, melodic elements, basic contrasts of musical gesture .. make for compelling listening."

Gregory Garvey, Computer Music Journal

"... pieces that are exemplary in their thoughtful and stimulating exploration of economical resources."

Alan Young, Ear Magazine

"Mr. Mizelle showed himself a shrewd and imaginative manipulator of sound.." Bernard Holland, New York Times

"'Soundscape' is a major work for percussion ensemble ... particularly fascinating for the degrees of texture and density explored through the six movements."

Al Otte, Percussive Notes
"Truly lyrical music - very enjoyable listening. Varese with a zen orientation."
Micheal Fitzgibbon, Op Magazine


Dary John Mizelle, the wonderfully mad-eyed actor who performed Kurt Schwiters’nonsense poem in Ms. Kroos’s “Ursonate Project,” proved that the incomprehensible can be made enticing.  There were telling moments when he interacted with the five dancers….. Jennifer Dunning  New York Times 


"DARY JOHN MIZELLE IS ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT COMPOSERS OF OUR TIME and his new publications are a fantastic addition to the printed contemporary repertoire. Beautifully presented, and totally user-friendly, each edition is vintage Mizelle. I thoroughly recommend DJ's editions to all serious-minded performers of contemporary music." Graham Ashton Trumpet virtuoso, recording artist and Director of The Graham Ashton Brass Ensemble. Chair of Brass and Kempton Distinguished Professor, Purchase College, State University of New York  



"I felt that your music is 'wind' blowing in the city. I love your composing based on contemporary feeling and it sounds for me like a lullaby in the city. Warm and cool, wild and gentle....Your music is so impressive compared with what we usually hear from U.S. hit records. So artistic and illuminating deep in mind. I really hope American music will respect your type of music making."

Kuniko Kisanuki, Japan’s Dancer of the Year


There is a very special human being living in  the United 
States.   He is  a splendid composer . One of the most prolific and  
one of the most distinguished  musical minds among us.
His name is Dary John Mizelle and I have been  privileged to 
conduct and premiere two of his most recent works works: Forbidden 
Colors and The Sacred Power of Music. For me, the experience is one 
of spiritual centering......... 

I received and listened to your beautiful trio-LEMMA It is exquisitely beautiful

and the recording sounds equally brilliant.  The "live" presence always adds an extra dimension.

I am profoundly interested in everything you compose."


Joel Thome, Artistic Director/conductor, Orchestra Of Our Time


"I have always found Mizelle's writing to be imaginative, deep-probing and, without question, challenging and original."  Kenneth Gaburo, International Composer, Master Teacher, Publisher


"I was deeply moved by Forbidden Colors and found that the work honored the absolutely extraordinary title in what emotions it touched and visions it empowered. I deeply honor your creativity and mastery."

Lorin Hollander, international pianist, conductor and teacher

"... just beautiful, just beautiful."

John Cage, International Composer and Writer


"Soundscape is like a percussion thesaurus. The whole record is quite brilliant."

Lukas Foss, International Composer, Conductor


“Thank you for your music, on Youtube, (First Snow).  It is GREAT!  I enjoyed it very much.” Mika Yoshida, professional marimbist


“Transmutations and Metamorphoses is really a Dary score!...Transmutations is a real Nocturno…I expected a process but stayed in a sweet dream…The recording is astounding!  Many thanks.”

Karlheinz Stockhausen, International composer, author and educator


"Indeed, my joyful smile radiates for you, John, as your music celebrates your amazing career as a composer!"

Larry Austin, International Composer, Publisher and educator



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