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Jim Dalton joined the Conservatory in 2000. He is a professor of music theory and teaches music theory and ear training courses.
As a music theorist, Dalton's interests and research have ranged from palindromes and symmetrical musical structures to just intonation and microtonality. He has presented at conferences in the United States and abroad, including the Northeast Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology, the Society for American Music, the Macro Analysis Creative Research Organization, Beyond the Semitone (Aberdeen, Scotland), the 17th International Music Theory Conference (Vilnius, Lithuania), and the Nova Contemporary Music Meeting (Lisbon, Portugal).
Dalton’s compositions have been performed throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe by the Providence Mandolin Orchestra, Enigmatica, Toronto Camerata, Ensemble Decadanse, Transient Canvas, Scottish Voices, Sharan Leventhal, Stephen Altoft, Marti Epstein, Paul Ayres, Aaron Larget-Caplan, Carson Cooman, Michael Nix and Donald Bousted and at such venues as the Kansas Symposium of New Music, Musiques Nouvelles (Lunel, France), EUROMicroFest, Sound (Festival of New Music, Scotland), and Akademie der Tonkunst (Darmstadt, Germany).
Dalton performs on guitar, mandolin, banjo, and other plucked string instruments with soprano Maggi Smith-Dalton, specializing in historically informed performance of 19th- and 20th-century American music. Together, they have released four recordings. He freelances in orchestral, chamber music, new music, and theater/opera pit orchestra settings and has played with orchestras around the world, including the Macao Orchestra (China) and the Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco (Mexico).
Dalton earned a B.A. with honors from Rutgers University and an M.M. from the University of Idaho. He studied composition with George Walker, Louie White, Neely Bruce, Robert Dickow, and Daniel Bukvich and guitar with Michael Newman and John Abercrombie. Dalton contributed two articles to Music in American Life (ABC-CLIO), contributed a chapter to Banjo Roots and Branches (ed. Robert B Winans), University of Illinois Press, and wrote several prefaces for scores published by Musikproduktion Höflich in Munich, Germany. He is the author of Mandolin for Beginners (Alfred, 2001).