Interlacing lived experiences with innate passion, Henry Dorn is a nationally recognized music composer/conductor renowned for his energizing rhythm, syntax versatility, and passion for creating storytelling sounds with larger picture meanings. Dr. Dorn’s compositions encompass intimate narratives often told from the lens of being a musician and African American. He is passionate about developing immersive experiences while setting an example of his life signature – the path may not always be smooth or clear, but it will always be worth it. His works have earned him recognition and performances by distinguished ensembles across the country, including the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Music from Copland House, JACK Quartet, the Grammy-winning Harlem Quartet, Aizuri Quartet, Argento Ensemble, and the Dallas Wind Symphony.

Dr. Dorn is Assistant Professor of Conducting and Composition at St. Olaf College and is conductor of the award-winning St. Olaf Band. Prior to St. Olaf College, Dr. Dorn worked as an Assistant Director of the Memphis Area Youth Wind Ensemble and formerly served as Director to the Nu Chamber Collective. He has also worked with musicians of the United States Army Field Band, the United States Air Force Band, and has guest conducted the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own.”

“Conducting the St. Olaf Band is always one of the most energizing experiences. I push them, and they push me. There’s no greater joy than the interaction I get with students, and finding those special ‘aha’ moments with them in the classroom or during rehearsal.” – Henry Dorn.

As a composer, Dr. Dorn has earned several accolades. He was an Inaugural Future of Music Faculty Fellow with the Cleveland Institute of Music and an ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award recipient. He is a past participant in The Next Festival of Emerging Artists, Minnesota Orchestra Composers Institute, American Composers Orchestra EarShot, JACK Quartet’s JACK Studio, and Copland House CULTIVATE. He was in residence at MacDowell in summer 2023.

Originally from Little Rock, AR, Dr. Dorn’s ardency toward composing sparked at an early age while he was surrounded by blues and the sounds of his father’s vinyl records collection. He earned a Bachelor of Music in Composition from The University of Memphis, a Master of Music in Composition and Wind Conducting from Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Conducting and a DMA in Composition from Michigan State University. He his primary conducting teachers have been Kevin L. Sedatole, Harlan D. Parker, and Kraig Alan Williams. He studied composition with David Biedenbender, Ricardo Lorenz, Alexis Bacon, Oscar Bettison, Kamran Ince, and Jack Cooper, among several others.

Visit Dr. Dorn's website here