There comes a time when a political issue crosses the line and becomes a humanitarian issue, and that is where you will find me. This “Variation on America the Beautiful,” is a twisted version of the tune, a ravaged and defaced version of this beloved song which is a metaphor for the Trump administration in the last four years and the attempted destruction of our democracy, as well as the great damage that was done to the American people in those four years. May it stand as a reminder of what we should never have to face again.
Richard Danielpour has established himself as one of the most gifted and sought-after composers of his generation. His music has attracted an international and illustrious array of champions, and, as a devoted mentor and educator, he has also had a significant impact on the younger generation of composers. His list of commissions include some of the most celebrated artists of our day including Yo-Yo Ma, Jessye Norman, Dawn Upshaw, Susan Graham, Emanuel Ax, Gil Shaham, Frederica von Stade, Thomas Hampson, Gary Graffman, Anthony McGill, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, the Guarneri and Emerson String Quartets, the New York City, Pacific Northwest and Nashville Ballets, and institutions such as the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Maryinsky and Vienna Chamber Orchestras, Orchestre National de France, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and many more. With Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, Danielpour created Margaret Garner, his first opera, which premiered in 2005 and had a second production with New York City Opera. He has received two awards from the American Academy and Institute of Arts & Letters, a Guggenheim Award, the Bearns Prize from Columbia University, two Rockefeller Foundation Fellowships, and The Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin. He served on the composition faculty of Manhattan School of Music from 1993 to 2017. Danielpour recently relocated to Los Angeles where he has accepted the position of Professor of Music at the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA. He is also a member of the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music where he has taught since 1997.
In July of 2018, Danielpour’s The Passion on Yeshua, a 100 minute passion oratorio in Hebrew and English, commissioned by the Oregon Bach Festival, the Buffalo Philharmonic, and the SDG Foundation, was premiered at the Oregon Bach Festival with JoAnn Faletta conducting. The work was then performed in December at Royce Hall in Los Angeles with the UCLA Philharmonia and Chorus led by music director Neal Stulberg and choral director James Bass. Finally, in April 2019, JoAnn Faletta lead the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus in performances of The Passion of Yeshua, where it was recorded by Naxos. The album was released in March of 2020 to critical acclaim and is currently considered for three separate GRAMMYs, including best contemporary classical composition. 2020 ended with the premiere of An American Mosaic with pianist Simone Dinnerstein. The piece, which consists of 15 miniatures, pays homage to groups effected by the pandemic in unique ways and was virtually premiered in connection with the Oregon Bach Festival.
Danielpour is one of the most recorded composers of his generation; many of his recordings can be found on the Naxos of America and Sony Classical labels. Danielpour's music is published by Lean Kat Music and Associated Music Publishers. For more information about Richard Danielpour, please visit his website at: www.Richard-Danielpour.com.
Photo Credit: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
As the artistic director of Center for Musical Excellence, I am always on the look out for new and undiscovered talents. They come to me, sometimes, by my colleagues’ recommendations and other times through young artists’ own research about our organization. Tyson Davis and Andrew Bambridge are currently on our roster of CME Young Artists, whom we mentor. Patricio Molina is a CME alumnus. Theo Chandler, Ji-Young Ko, and Daniel Newman-Lessler applied for our Grant program, and I got to know their work through that process. I decide on young artists when I notice a deep passion and drive within them, plus a certain kind of sparkle in the personality and lots of humility. In addition to musical talents, I believe these are the qualities that will take the young artists far. CME’s motto is "Moving Musicians Forward". I’ve chosen our Discovery Composers based on these qualities, whom we felt we could easily move forward.
- Min Kwon