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Dr. Jordi Alonso `10 and Peter Dayton `08 Bring Poetry and Music Together

Dr. Jordi Alonso `10 and Peter Dayton `08 Bring Poetry and Music Together

Peter Dayton `08 and Dr. Jordi Alonso `10 did not spend much time together at Country Day, but now they have kindled a friendship through music, poetry, philosophy, and creative collaboration.  

When Dayton, a composer, set out to work on his latest album, "Stories Out of Cherry Stems," which was released this past May, he turned to Alonso, a poet, for one of the pieces. The piece is an arrangement of vocal settings of poetry that Alonso published in 2014 in his book Honeyvoiced, a modern reimagination of Sappho, the ancient Greek poet.  

We sat down with Alonso and Dayton to ask them a few questions about how this collaboration happened, what they are up to now, and if there are plans to collaborate again sometime in the future.  

How did this collaboration come about? What came first, the music or the poetry? 

PD: Well, I had read his [Jordi's] collection of poems before, and when it came time to record my album, I wanted it to be a collection of work that explored different texts spanning multiple centuries, so Honeyvoiced fit that mold, and I thought, ‘why not include someone from my alma mater?’. 

JA: I was excited and honored when Peter asked me because this album has the works of famous poets like Pablo Neruda and Oscar Wilde, so being included is enormous for me.  

Clearly, Country Day played a part in this collaboration, but besides both being alums, how did your time at Country Day influence this project? 

JA: I've been interested in philosophy since my time at Country Day. That's when I started writing poetry and reading the works of ancient philosophers and poets. I remember thinking how cool it was that teachers and peers encouraged me to explore this somewhat nerdy passion of mine. Country Day truly inspired my love for learning. And I do love learning as you can tell because I have about a million degrees. (At the time of publication, Alonso holds an AB in English from Kenyon College, a MFA from Stony Brook University, and a Ph.D. in Victorian poetry from the University of Missouri. He is currently a MA student in Classical Studies at Columbia University, studying nymphs and late antique epic poetry.) 

PD: Country Day is where I developed my passion for literature, and that's where I get my inspiration for my work now. So yes, I do credit Country Day and especially my English teachers. But Jordi and I were meant to collaborate now when we're older and more seasoned, and we've both learned how to perfect our craft.  


Dayton's album "Stories Out of Cherry Stems" is available on Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, and YouTube. Alonso's works are featured in the first piece, titled Entwine Our Tongues: Sapphic Fragments. 

For more information about Dayton and to hear his albums go to: 

Alonso two books of poetry, Honeyvoiced and The Lover's Phrasebook, are available wherever books are sold. Interested readers can find more information here: