Common Searches

Rollo Dilworth (MEd 1994)

Music is often described as the language of the soul – and one of its most prolific interpreters is a graduate of the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Rollo Dilworth, who was born and raised in St. Louis, is today a giant in the world of choral music, renowned for his multifaceted talents as a composer, conductor and educator. Rollo combines innovative compositions with an unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion, bringing people together around choral music to learn more about each other and themselves.

Rollo’s own journey of music discovery began while singing in school and church choirs, and by age 11, he was already experimenting with music pitches and rhythms. After high school, he studied voice and piano at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, then spent a year teaching elementary school music while attending UMSL, where he completed a master’s degree in secondary education in 1994.

Rollo Dilworth

Photo: Joseph V. Labolito, Temple University

“Some 30 years later, I find myself employing many of the techniques and concepts I learned while at UMSL,” Rollo said. “Professor Robert Ray was a major highlight of my UMSL experience, teaching me how to lead a chorus with humility, warmth, heart and artistic integrity. He also taught me how to find my voice as a composer and arranger.”

After earning a Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting performance at Northwestern, Rollo taught at various institutions while beginning his publishing career. Since 1998, more than 200 of Rollo’s compositions and arrangements have been published by major companies. He has written works for school, church, community and professional choral ensembles. Today, he is vice dean and professor in the Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University, chairing the music education and music therapy departments. In every student interaction, Rollo relishes the role of mentor as he uplifts the next generation of choral music professionals.

"I believe that every single person has the ability to compose," Rollo said. "Whether it’s words, whether it’s music, or a combination of both - we just have to be quiet enough to listen to what the voice is within."