Dawn Sonntag

Lecturer - Composition

Dawn Sonntag
  • Professional
  • Biography


  • D.M.A., Vocal Performance and Composition, University of Minnesota
  • M.M., Choral Conducting, Ohio State University
  • B.M., Voice Performance, University of Texas-El Paso


Composition Lessons and Songwriting.


  • Swedish International Cultural Exchange Grant, 2019
  • Music Teacher National Association - Ohio Distinguished Composer of the Year, 2010
  • Finalist - American Composers Forum Faith Works, 2008
  • Inge Pitler Prize for Lied Performance, piano and voice, Heidelberg, 1998 and 1999

Professional Memberships/Organizations

  • American Society Of Composers, Authors And Publishers (ASCAP)
  • National Association of Composers - USA (NACUSA)
  • American Choral Directors Association (ACDA)
  • National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS)
  • International Alliance of Women in Music (IAWM)


Raised in Minnesota and Wisconsin, Dawn Sonntag received a D.M.A. in vocal performance and composition from the University of Minnesota, where she minored in choral conducting. She also studied composition at the European American Musical Alliance in Paris. Her composition mentors include Alex Lubet, Claude Baker, Narcis Bonet, and Stephen Stuckey. While in living in Germany from 1991-2000, Dawn studied collaborative piano, voice, and choral conducting at the Heidelberg Hochschule für Kirchenmusik, receiving the Inge Pitler Prize in lied performance for piano and voice. She received an M.M. in choral conducting at the Ohio State University and a B.M. in vocal performance at the University of Texas-El Paso after beginning studies in piano, voice, and trumpet at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee while working as a pianist for the Milwaukee Ballet and singer with the Florentine Opera chorus.

Dawn’s first opera, Verlorene Heimat, the true story of World War II refugees, premiered at Hiram College in 2015 and was performed at the Cleveland Opera Theater’s 2018 New Opera Works (NOW) festival. Scenes from her opera Coal Creek, which is based on a community of miners and Han natives in east-central Alaskawere performed at the 2019 and 2020 NOW festival. The full opera will be premiered in 2021. Her operatic works have also been performed by ContempOpera Cleveland, at the Hartford Opera Theater’s New in November festival, the Hartford Women Composers’ Festival, and the Opera from Scratch festival in Halifax. Dawn’s choral works and art songs have been performed across the U.S. and in Germany and France. Her chamber and symphonic music has been performed by the Almeda Trio, the Amici Quartet, the Delgani Quartet, Concert Black, the Fairbanks Arts Festival Symphony, the University of Minnesota Symphony, and the Hiram String Symphony. She received a Foreign Language Area Studies grant to study advanced Norwegian in Oslo; an American Scandinavian Foundation creative artist grant; and a Swedish intercultural exchange grant as a resident composer at the Visby International Centre for Composers. Dawn was honored as the 2010 Ohio Music Teachers’ Association Composer of the Year. She has taught at Hiram College, Gonzaga University, and the University of Saint Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota.

For a full list of compositions, please visit www.dawnsonntag.com.