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Musical World

Richard Danielpour

  • Composer


Richard Danielpour's work has attracted an illustrious array of champions, and, as a devoted mentor and educator, he has also had a significant impact on a younger generation of composers. His first opera, Margaret Garner, written with Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, took critics and audiences by storm when it premiered to sold-out houses in Detroit, Cincinnati, and Philadelphia last spring. Much in demand across the globe, Mr. Danielpour has received such prestigiou
s honors as a Lifetime Achievement Award and the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, a Guggenheim Award, two Rockefeller Foundation grants, Bearns Prize from Columbia University, and grants and residencies from the Barlow Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Copland House, and the American Academy in Rome. He was one of the first composers to have been invited for a coveted Alberto Vilar Fellowship and Residency at the American Academy in Berlin.
Mr. Danielpour's work has been performed throughout the world, and his commissions read like a Who's Who of the world's leading musical institutions and artists. He has written for the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, American Composers Orchestra, and San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Pacific, National, and Baltimore Symphonies, among many others. His music has also been championed by Yo-Yo Ma, Jessye Norman, Dawn Upshaw, Emanuel Ax, Frederica von Stade, Thomas Hampson, Gary Graffman, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, the Guarneri, Emerson, Muir, and American String Quartets, and conductors Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Masur, Charles Dutoit, David Zinman, Zdenek Macal, Carl St. Clair, and Leonard Slatkin.
Mr. Danielpour has also composed two major scores for the New York City and Pacific Northwest Ballets.
Mr. Danielpour is one of the most recorded composers of his generation, and became only the third composer --after Stravinsky and Copland-- to be signed to an exclusive recording contract by Sony Classical. Since then, Sony has released several Danielpour recordings, including the Grammy Award-winning Cello Concerto, recorded by Yo-Yo Ma and the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by David Zinman, and the Grammy-nominated Concerto for Orchestra (coupled with Anima Mundi), recorded by Zinman and the Pittsburgh Symphony. Recent recordings include An American Requiem for chorus and orchestra on Reference Recordings, and A Child's Reliquary with the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio and In The Arms Of The Beloved, written for and recorded by Jamie Laredo and Sharon Robinson, with the Iris Chamber Orchestra and Michael Stern conducting on Arabesque Recordings. Other recordings include Celestial Night, with the London Philharmonia conducted by Zdenek Macal, coupled with Towards the Splendid City and Urban Dances for orchestra; First Light, The Awakened Heart, and Symphony No. 3 on Delos; a chamber music disc on Koch and his Piano Sonata on New World; and Metamorphosis (Piano Concerto No. 1) with pianist Michael Boriskin and the Utah Symphony conducted by Joseph Silverstein.
Mr. Danielpour is an active educator and believes deeply in the nurturing of young musicians. Beyond serving on the faculties of both the Curtis Institute of Music and the Manhattan School of Music, he also spends a great deal of time giving master classes throughout the country, and coaching and mentoring young musicians. He was in residence at the Acadamie Musicale de Villcroze, and served as Master Artist for the Atlantic Center for the Arts' first International Residency Program in Italy, and co-director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra's Composition and Conducting Institute.
He has also recently completed a three-year stint as Composer-in-Residence with the Pacific Symphony in southern California. In connection with other positions, he has coached not only composers but young performers in residencies at the Seattle Symphony, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Marlboro Music Festival, and Saratoga Chamber Music Festival. The Danielpour-Morrison opera Margaret Garner was commissioned by the Michigan Opera Theater, Cincinnati Opera, and Opera Company of Philadelphia. Its triumphant premiere featured Denyce Graves, in the title role, Gregg Baker as her husband, and Angela Brown as his mother, director Kenny Leon, and conductor Stefan Lano.
His rigorous schedule also includes recent and upcoming commissions from the Pittsburgh and Atlanta Symphonies and Brooklyn Philharmonic celebrating baseball in America based on the poetry of Michael Harper; a collaborative piece, with famed chef Daniel Boulud, created for the ensemble Music from Copland House; an orchestral version of his Child’s Reliquary for the Pacific Symphony, and a work for the Baltimore Symphony. Other recent commissions and performances have included works for the Singapore Symphony and the Guarneri Quartet, the WDR Sinfonie Orchester in Cologne (Celestial Night); Yo-Yo Ma and the Orchestre National de Lyon (Through the Ancient Valley); the New Jersey Symphony (Apparitions, an orchestral version for his String Quartet No. 4); the Iris Chamber Orchestra and violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson (In the Arms of the Beloved, double concerto); for Gary Graffman and the National Symphony conducted by Leonard Slatkin (Zodiac Variations, Piano Concerto No. 3; and An American Requiem with the Pacific Symphony.
Born in New York City on January 28, 1956, Mr. Danielpour studied at the New England Conservatory and The Juilliard School with Vincent Persichetti and Peter Mennin. He also trained as a pianist with Lorin Hollander, Veronica Jochum, and Gabriel Chodos. Richard Danielpour's music has been published exclusively by Associated Music Publishers since 1988.