Dr. Anthony Donofrio

Associate Professor, Composition and Theory

Office: FAB 245   |    Phone: (308) 865-8632   |    Email: donofrioaj@unk.edu

Dr. Anthony Donofrio


Anthony Donofrio teaches composition, coordinates the theory area, and directs the UNK New Music Series and Festival at the University of Nebraska Kearney. Prior to coming to UNK, he taught at Kent State University, where he gave courses in theory, post-tonal analysis, and initiated the Vanguard New Music Series. He holds the Ph.D. in music composition from the University of Iowa.

Anthony is very interested in fusing the compositional techniques found in literature and painting with his own approach to composing music. As a result of these influences, Anthony has taken an interest in creating half concert and full concert-length pieces, such as the 70-minute Between Event and Crisis for solo percussion, the 80-minute V for flute, clarinet, viola, piano, and percussion, and the 90-minute I for solo piano. His 3-hour Several Hundred Drops of Water, premiered in May of 2017 by Chamber Cartel, was a result of collaboration with UNK professor of ceramics Mallory Wetherell on the reactions of clay to water; the form of the piece is a direct mapping of the resulting shapes found in such reactions.

Anthony has received numerous commissions from new music specialists such as Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, Chamber Cartel, pianist Amy O'Dell, saxophonists Jeff Heisler and Alex Sellers, pianist Holly Roadfeldt, and harpist Ben Melsky. In 2016, he represented the state of Nebraska as the commissioned composer for MNTA with his Canto II for soprano and percussion. His music has been featured at festivals and conferences such as the Bowling Green State University New Music Festival, Omaha Under the Radar, the Deep Listening Institute, S.E.M. Emerging Composers, and the Vox Novus Festival. More information can be found at www.donofrio-music.com

Link to New Frontiers spotlight on Dr. Donofrio:


Photo Credit: Aleksandr Karjaka

Artist Statement: 

My pieces are attempts; attempts to create individual sound worlds that speak for themselves, existing on their own terms and conditions.

I am very concerned, possibly obsessed, with the shapes and durations of my pieces. For me, durations have personality and character, similar to how certain chords and certain sounds have character. A six-minute piece speaks differently than a 30-minute piece, and I have found much pleasure in exploring these differences. Furthermore, I am interested in questioning and challenging the notions of beginning and ending. I often do not intentionally end my pieces, preferring to allow them to stop on their own. I believe that this approach brings a satisfying ambiguity to both the creation of the work and the final product.

I am influenced by the compositional techniques found in all arts as well as in music. I enjoy attempting to mirror the structural divisions of novels and the immediacy of painting. Though my approach to creation is interdisciplinary, I believe in absolute music and do not concern myself with depicting or recreating emotions, stories, or narratives. Rather, I find beauty in simply experiencing sound as it is passes through time. My music, my creative need, is an attempt to bring reflection and commentary on this belief.