Rhodes Scholar Nick DiBerardino (b. 1989), hailed as a “bright young star” and a “first-rate talent” by the Portland Press Herald, composes music that is diverse in style but always oriented toward meaningful narrative arcs. DiBerardino has received recognition from many institutions, including the Music Teachers’ National Association, the National Federation of Music Clubs, the New York Art Ensemble, the Boston New Music Initiative, PARMA Recordings, the New York Youth Symphony, ASCAP, and the American Composers Forum. Recent accolades include winning the Portland Chamber Music Festival Composition Competition, garnering a soundSCAPE Composition Prize, and receiving a Horizon Award from Connecticut’s Westport Arts Advisory Committee, given to young artists who have achieved “measurable excellence” in their field. DiBerardino’s orchestral music has been programmed by the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and the Minnesota Orchestra. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Princeton University and an M.Phil with distinction from the University of Oxford, and also holds an M.M. from the Yale School of Music. He furthered his studies with the New York Youth Symphony, the European American Musical Alliance, the Brevard Music Center, the Aspen Music Festival, the Norfolk New Music Workshop, the highSCORE festival, the soundSCAPE festival, and the Bowdoin International Music Festival, where his work was featured on the Charles E. Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music. He serves as the musical studies lead instructor and curriculum coordinator at Curtis’ Young Artist Summer Program and is currently composer-in-residence at the Luzerne Music Center. DiBerardino is pursuing a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in composition at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he has studied with Jennifer Higdon and David Ludwig.
Mercury-Redstone 3 is the name of the NASA mission that first sent an American astronaut, Alan Shepard, into space. Today, this tremendous accomplishment has been somewhat overshadowed by two other, more celebrated historical events. The first took place three weeks before Shepard’s suborbital flight: the Soviet Union launched Yuri Gagarin into space, beating the States to the punch. Then, just over eight months later, NASA launched John Glenn all the way into orbit aboard Mercury-Atlas 6. But the somewhat unheralded nature of the Mercury-Redstone 3 mission imbues it with a special quality for me. To imagine that first U.S. spaceflight is to think of the unadulterated thrill of exploration and an unfathomable exhilaration. What must it have felt like to be among the first to touch the sky? I hope to capture in this piece some of the sense of wonder and excitement that NASA, and the sheer audacity of human spaceflight, have brought me since I was young. ~Nick DiBerardino