top of page

Biography (Longer)

Acclaimed as "the preeminent choral lyricist of our time," poet, author, and composer Charles Anthony Silvestri specializes in providing bespoke poetry for choral composers, especially texts in Latin, both sacred and secular. He enjoys the creative challenges and rewards of the collaborative process and has provided lyrics for many composers in different stages of their careers and for a wide variety of commissions and occasions.  “Collaboration between composer and poet is magic,” Silvestri argues. “ It opens for the composer opportunities for organic and dynamic creation not possible with previously published poetry and gives the poet the thrill and responsibility that his words will be sung--not read--and will be heard attached to an emotional soundtrack.  There’s magic and power in the marriage of words and music.”  He is the author of more than fifty published works in collaboration with celebrated composers such as Eric Whitacre, Dan Forrest, Ola Gjeilo, Christopher Tin, and Kim Arnesen; and for groups such as the King's Singers, VOCES8, San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, the Tallis Scholars, Westminster Choir College, the Turtle Creek Chorale, and the Houston Grand Opera.  


As a clinician, Silvestri speaks to choirs about his works, the creative process, and about his collaborative relationships with composers. He has given live and webcast presentations at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Disney Hall, and at universities and schools around the country.   His poems for Eric Whitacre's Sleep and Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine have also been published as children's books, illustrated by Dutch artist Anne Horjus; and Silvestri wrote the foreword for the book From Words to Music by Gerald Custer and Blake Henson (GIA, 2014). He is also the author of A Silver Thread (GIA 2019), a retrospective of almost 20 years of his lyric poetry. Silvestri's words have been sung by thousands of choirs around the world, and have been heard on television and radio, on Grammy-winning recordings, and in the world's magnificent spaces such as the Sydney Opera House, Disney Hall, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the National Cathedral, Royal Albert Hall, Westminster Abbey, King’s College, the Vatican, and even in orbit aboard the ISS. 

In addition to writing choral lyrics, Silvestri is also an accomplished artist/painter, specializing in replicating Medieval manuscript illumination and recreating the techniques and materials of Gothic and Renaissance painters and iconographers.  He is an aficionado of Irish traditional music and plays concertina in a trad band and at pub sessions around the world. He is a veteran teacher with over three decades of experience teaching kindergarten through college.  He has earned Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate degrees in Ancient and Medieval History from Loyola Marymount University and the University of Southern California.  Born in 1965 in Las Vegas, Silvestri has lived in Los Angeles and Rome.  He currently lives in Lawrence, Kansas, and teaches History at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas.

Body shot.jpg

Feel free to use any or all of these bios for concert programs. Don’t hesitate to contact Tony if you require any other information.  For a shorter bio, or for photos to include in your program or promotional materials, click the buttons above.

bottom of page