Mike Spencer - Columbus State Community College 50th Anniversary

Rocco Di Pietro's life revolves around music. Not only is he a composer and educator, but he's someone who shares his love of music with everyone, everywhere he goes.

And go he does.

Di Pietro has been an ASCAP Fellow to the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood, Mass; and been involved with musical associations at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, NY; MacDowell Colony, NH; Headlands Center, in San Francisco; and Ferienkurse fur Neue Musik, in Darmstadt, Germany.

Currently, Di Pietro is a guest lecturer and composer in residence at the Ohio State University New Music Collective and an SICA Artist in Residence and guest faculty member at Stanford University. All this while he remains an adjunct music professor at Columbus State, where he has worked for 15 years.

In 2006, using a grant from Columbus State, Di Pietro took his music students to Stanford University's Sophomore College, giving them the opportunity to perform with world renowned composers such as Pauline Oliveros.

"It was a great experience for both our students and the Stanford students," Di Pietro recalls. "The Stanford students were amazed with our students' ability to hold jobs while still pursuing their dreams by going to school at the same time."

Di Pietro actually began his work in Ohio by teaching in prisons and collecting life stories of incarcerated students. Using the stories he collected, Di Pietro wrote a book, The Normal Exception: Life Stories from Prison.

Di Pietro, who earned a bachelor's degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a master's from Vermont College, has won awards and recognition for his unique musical compositions which often add a new dimension for musician and listener alike.

Images: A Year in the Life of Columbus State