Fetter & Air

Dominick DiOrio composer
Mendelssohn Chorus of Philadelphia | Dominick DiOrio artistic director & conductor

Release Date: January 28, 2022
Catalog #: NV6400
Format: Digital
21st Century
Vocal Music

An emotional and collaborative tour de force, Dominick DiOrio’s FETTER & AIR presents the Mendelssohn Chorus of Philadelphia’s own words set to a haunting soundscape that explores each member’s innermost hopes, fears, dreams, and desires. The massive undertaking is a skillful combination of 562 audio files comprising spoken word and singing by 61 chorus members, combined into a single piece by DiOrio and sound designer Justin “JG” Geller. The personal thoughts and interweaving arrangements create a raw expressiveness and intimacy, ultimately rendering a reminder of how our own stories echo within us.


Hear the full album on YouTube

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Fetter & Air Dominick DiOrio Mendelssohn Chorus of Philadelphia | Dominick DiOrio, conductor 26:58

Mendelssohn Chorus of Philadelphia
Dominick DiOrio, artistic director & conductor
Flo Gardner, executive director

Featured Vocal Soloists: Abigail Chapman, soprano; Lucas DeJesus, bass-baritone; Sierra Fox, mezzo-soprano; Donald Hunt, baritone; Jina Jang, soprano; Kelsey Lewis, mezzo-soprano; John Meyer, baritone; Langelihle Mngxati, bass; Alize Rozsnyai, soprano; Michael Robert Smith, tenor; Karina Sweeney, mezzo-soprano; D’quan Tyson, tenor; Sandy Rea, “Dona Nobis Pacem”

Featured Instrumentalists: Ting Ting Wong, piano; Brendan Fullam, synthesizer; Kyle Conner, flute; Amanda Pfannenstiel, bassoon; Albert Crawford, trombone; Mark Davidson, trombone

Sound design, audio engineering, installation, and production Justin “JG” Geller

Original text compiled by the composer from submitted statements by members of the chorus.

Stereo version produced on July 15, 2021 by Dominick DiOrio and Justin “JG” Geller
Original sound installation premiered on May 15 & 16, 2021 at The Rail Park, Philadelphia PA
Singers original spoken and sung recordings submitted throughout January and February 2021

For full chorister credits, please visit: mcchorus.org/fetter-air
FETTER & AIR was commissioned by and is dedicated to the Mendelssohn Chorus of Philadelphia. Music and Text Copyright © 2021 by Dominick DiOrio. All rights reserved.

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Jacob Smith

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette
Mastering Shaun Michaud

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland, Aidan Curran
Content Manager Sara Warner

Artist Information

Dominick DiOrio

Composer, Conductor

Dominick DiOrio (b. 1984) is a conductor and composer who has won widespread acclaim for his contributions to American music. He has been recognized with The American Prize in both Choral Composition (2014) and Choral Performance (2019, with NOTUS). Since 2012, he has been a member of the choral conducting faculty at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he serves as Professor of Choral Conducting and leads the select, new-music chamber chorus NOTUS. DiOrio has conducted ensembles around the world, from the Houston Chamber Choir and Choral Arts Initiative in the United States to Allmänna Sången and Ars Veritas abroad. In July 2020, he became the 14th Artistic Director & Conductor of the Mendelssohn Chorus of Philadelphia.

Mendelssohn Chorus of Philadelphia


Mendelssohn Chorus of Philadelphia is known throughout the nation as a leader in advancing the field of choral music. Recognition has come in several forms: a Grammy nomination for the 1985 recording of Vincent Persichetti’s Winter Cantata; receipt of the 1992 and 2013 ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming; and a 2014 commission, Julia Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields, receiving the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Music. MCP has produced notable world- and citywide premieres; most recently, the Philadelphia premiere of Academy-Award winner Tan Dun’s ambitious Water Passion After Saint Matthew in 2019.

MCP’s mission is to foster artistry and belonging in our Philadelphia community and beyond by illuminating our shared human experiences as storytellers through song.


Originally conceived as a 25-minute looping sound installation for The Rail Park in Philadelphia and premiered in that space in May 2021, this stereo version of FETTER & AIR was adapted from the original eight-track installation and produced by composer Dominick DiOrio and sound designer Justin “JG” Geller.

It uses the original words of 61 singers from the Mendelssohn Chorus of Philadelphia, spoken and sung in their own voices, and set to the original music of their conductor and composer with improvisations and interpolations by the singers themselves. This definitive stereo version includes 562 audio files that were recorded by the singers themselves on their own devices and fashioned into a work by the composer and sound designer.

With its raw expressive power and intimacy, FETTER & AIR serves as a reminder of the enduring resonance of our stories.

Please note that the words in this sound installation contain personal reflections from individuals about their hopes, worries, dreams, fears, anxieties, and joys, and that some of these reflections may be potentially triggering for some individuals.

The commissioning and premiere performance installation of FETTER & AIR was made possible with the support of The Presser Foundation, with additional support provided by Frank Cassel, Ellie and Tom Elkinton, Elizabeth Hohwieler, Carolyn and Bernie Linarello, Mark Pinzur, Maria Sisto and Michael Schaedle, Jane Uptegrove, and Aiko and Greg Whiting.

Special thanks to the Friends of the Rail Park Board of Directors and staff: Rebecca Cordes Chan, executive director; Ava Schwemler, strategic communications manager; Zoe Evans, public programs manager.

— Dominick DiOrio