Melissa Dunphy

Born and raised in Australia, Melissa Dunphy immigrated to the United States in 2003 and has since become an award-winning and acclaimed composer specializing in political and theatrical music. She first came to national attention in 2009 when her large-scale choral work the Gonzales Cantata was featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, National Review, Comedy Central, and on Fox News and MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. The Gonzales Cantata was subsequently staged by the American Opera Theater and played a sold-out run in Baltimore.

Dunphy's first song cycle Tesla's Pigeon, has been recognized with several awards, including first place in the 2012 National Association of Teachers of Singing Art Song Composition Award. Her choral work What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach? won the Simon Carrington Chamber Singers Composition Competition and has been performed around the country by ensembles including Chanticleer, Cantus, and the St. Louis Chamber Chorus, who recorded it for their album American Declarations (Regent Records). Dunphy has also received awards from ASCAP, the Lotte Lehmann Foundation, Boston Metro Opera, Boston Choral Ensemble, and the Secret Opera, and her commissions include pieces for Choral Arts Philadelphia, PhilHarmonia, Opus Anglicanum (UK), Cornell University Chorus, mezzo-soprano Maren Montelbano, harpist Shana Norton, the Kennett Symphony Children’s Choir, and Piedmont Children's Choir.

Dunphy has been composer-in-residence for the Immaculata Symphony Orchestra (2010), Volti Choral Arts Lab (2013-2014), Volti Choral Institute (2016), and the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus (2015-2018). In addition to her concert and choral music, she composes and designs sound frequently for Philadelphia-area theatres such as People’s Light, Azuka Theatre, Simpatico Theatre, the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, and Gas and Electric Arts, and has been Director of Music Composition at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center National Puppetry Conference since 2014.

Dunphy has a Ph.D. in composition from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.M. from West Chester University (summa cum laude, Pi Kappa Lambda). Her teachers have included Robert Maggio, Larry Nelson, Van Stiefel, James Primosch, Jay Reise and Anna Weesner. Dunphy lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Matt; the Dunphys are currently the owners and developers of the Hannah Callowhill Stage, a new performance venue in Old City Philadelphia which they hope to open in 2020.

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