About Me

Composer, Teacher, & Ph.D. Candidate


Dayton Kinney creates music that has won and has been recognized for numerous competitions. Performed in the U.S. and abroad, Dayton’s music has had notable performances by the International Contemporary Ensemble, the Juventas New Music Ensemble, F-Plus, the Durham Medical Orchestra, Rela Percussion, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, the Zodiac Trio, and at Pittsburgh Opera.  Dayton’s eclectic style is inspired from neo-romantic-ideals, juxtapositions, and accessibility. Her compositional obsession explores ambiguity within harmonic projections and formal development through patterns, juxtaposition, and repetition.

Dayton is a doctoral candidate for a Ph.D. in Music - Composition at Duke University with John Supko as her dissertation adviser. Dayton earned her Master of Music in Composition at Carnegie Mellon University and was inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda. Dayton also holds a Bachelor of Arts, Cum Laude with Honors in Music from Smith College. Her previous composition teachers include Leonardo Balada, Salvatore Macchia, Melinda Wagner, and Alla Elana Cohen.

Artistic Statement

Inspired by Paul Hindemith’s A Composer’s World, my music concentrates on the ambiguous idea of “transforming the circle… into a spiral.” This notion enables my exploration to discover the limits of ambiguity in thematic material, harmony, and form with the goal of striking a balance between the certainty of a circle and the ambiguity of a spiral.

My music focuses on thematic material that develops through harmonic and rhythmic ambiguity, while individual motivic content is repeated, juxtaposed, and transformed. This ambiguously developed material settles and nestles inside large-scale harmonic motion and the local trajectories of single pitches. The result is harmonic ambiguity, which I explore in all my works.

Against thematic and harmonic ambiguity, my formal organization balances and plays upon this same idea in two distinct ways. Each work unfolds either through a narrative established at the outset, or through a suggested stream-of-consciousness arrangement of materials. Through this unfolding, the musical material is often organized in delineated sections or more dreamlike, kaleidoscopic arrangements. This formal organization supports the balance between short-term motivic certainty against a larger ambiguous harmonic development.

Curriculum Vitae