Daniel Asia

  • Daniel Asia (b. 1953, Seattle, Washington) enjoys working relationships with many noted orchestras, ensembles and soloists that reflect his extensive output and wide appeal. Elliott Hurwitt writes in his Schwann Opus review of the composer’s compact disc, Ivory, “Daniel Asia is a genuine creative spirit, an excellent composer He is a welcome addition to the roster of our strongest group of living composers”.

    The composer’s major orchestral works include four symphonies, a piano concerto, a cello concerto, two song cycles and the numerous shorter works including At the Far Edge, Black Light, Something Happened, Once Again, What About It!, and Gateways. Mr. Asia has been commissioned by the symphony orchestras of Cincinnati, Seattle, Milwaukee, New Jersey, Phoenix, American Composers Orchestra, Columbus, Grand Rapids, Jacksonville, Chattanooga, Memphis, Tucson, Knoxville, Greensboro, and Colorado Philharmonic. Asia’s works have been performed by renowned conductors including Zdenek Macal, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Eiji Oue, Lawrence Leighton Smith, Hermann Michael, Carl St. Clair, James Sedares, Stuart Malina, Robert Bernhardt, George Hanson, Kirk Trevor, Jonathan Shames, Odaline de la Martinez.

    His music has been championed or commissioned by Andre-Michel Schub, Carter Brey, Alex Klein, Cypress String Quartet, Benjamin Verdery, John Shirley-Quirk and Sara Watkins, Jonathan Shames, Curtis Macomber, Gregory Fulkerson, Mark Rush, Zina Schiff, and the Koussevitsky Music Foundation, Fromm Music Foundation, D’Addario Foundation for the Performing Arts/Domus, Oberlin Woodwind Quintet, Dorian Wind Quintet, American Brass Quintet, Meadowmount Trio. Recently, Mr. Asia has been co-commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for Music and the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music for a work to be written for the Czech Nonet and performed during the 2010-2011 season. Mr. Asia is only the third American composer to ever be asked to write for the Nonet.

    Mr. Asia’s music has also been performed by the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, San Francisco Contemporary Chamber Players, Contemporary Chamber Players/Chicago, Scott Chamber Players/Indianapolis, Aspen Music Festival Chamber Orchestra, Northwest Chamber Orchestra, Endymion Ensemble, Lontano and the BBC Singers, and numerous other chamber ensembles. His music has been played throughout the United States, and in the major venues of New York including Carnegie Hall and Weill Recital Hall, 92nd Street Y, Merkin Hall, the Great Hall at Cooper Union, those of London including Queen Elizabeth Hall (South Bank), St. John’s Smith Square, Wigmore Hall, and throughout Europe and Asia.

    Summit Records released Solos in May 2005, featuring performances by Alex Klein, oboe, Hong-Mei Xiao, viola, Robert Dick flute, Benny Sluchin, trombone, and Paul Fadoul, marimba. Summit released Trilogy in the Spring 2004, featuring performances by the Dorian Wind Quintet, American Brass Quintet, and Cypress String Quartet. Summit released two DVDs in the Fall 2002. These include Sacred and Profane, an electro-acoustic disc (by Asia/Haaheim), and Breath in a Ram’s Horn, including three song cycles for voice and piano. Summit Records has released four Asia CDs over last few years including At the Far Edge (including this piece and symphonies 1 and 4); Songs From the Page of Swords (instrumental song cycles); Gateways (with this piece and Piano Concerto and Black Light) ; and Ivory, including Scherzo Sonata, Why (?) Jacob, and Piano Quartet. Symphony No. 2 and Symphony No. 3 can be heard on New World Records (80447-2.) String Quartet No. 1, Sand II, Rivalries, Shtay and Miles Mix, appear on Albany Troy 106.

    Mr. Asia has been the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships in music including a Meet The Composer/Reader’s Digest Consortium Commission, United Kingdom Fulbright Arts Award Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, four NEA Composers Grants, a M. B. Rockefeller Grant, an Aaron Copland Fund for Music Grant, McDowell Colony and Tanglewood Fellowships, ASCAP and BMI composition prizes, and a DAAD Fellowship for study in Germany.

    Professor of Contemporary Music and Wind Ensemble at the Oberlin Conservatory from 1981-6, Mr. Asia resided in London from 1986-88 working under the auspices of the UK Fulbright Arts Award and Guggenheim Fellowship. From 1991-1994, Mr. Asia was the Meet the Composer/Composer In Residence with the Phoenix Symphony. He is presently Professor of Composition, and head of the Composition Department, at The University of Arizona, Tucson. Mr. Asia’s music is published by Theodore Presser Co. Married to Carolee Asia, Mr. Asia and his wife are the parents of three children.


  • Cover Title (Subtitle) Duration Instrumentation
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    Solo
    144-40683 Cello Suite
    For Solo Cello
    144-40683 17:00 Cello
    144-40254 Dream Sequence 1
    A (Trombone) Solo
    144-40254 12:00 Tenor
    144-40201 Marimba Music
    For Solo Marimba
    144-40201 18:00
    144-40203 Orange 144-40203 14:00
    440-40020 Piano Set I 440-40020 23:00 Piano Unaccompanied
    140-40089 Piano Variations 140-40089 12:00 Piano Unaccompanied
    140-40062 Scherzo Sonata
    For Piano
    140-40062 34:00 Piano Unaccompanied
    144-40682 Songs Of Transcendence
    For Solo Guitar
    144-40682 :5:30 Guitar
    144-40462 Unicorns Are Fireproof
    For Flute
    144-40462 7:00
    140-40069 Why Jacob
    For Solo Piano
    140-40069 8:00 Piano Unaccompanied
    144-40239 Your Cry Will Be A Whisper
    For Solo Guitar
    144-40239 13:00
    Chamber Ensemble
    144-40247 5 Images 144-40247 Woodwind Duet
    144-40266 Alex Set 144-40266 10:00
    144-40240 B for J 144-40240 5:00 Mixed Ensemble
    144-40276 Embers
    Duo for Flute and Guitar
    144-40276 11:00
    144-40391 Guitar Set 144-40391
    144-40449 Momentary Lapses
    For Violin and Guitar
    144-40449 6:00 Chamber Ensemble
    144-40202 Music for Trumpet & Organ 144-40202
    21709 Nonet 21709 18:00 Fl., Ob., Cl., Hn., Bsn., Vn., Va., Vc., Cb.
    144-40305 Piano Trio 144-40305 30:00 Piano Trio
    144-40204 Piano Quartet
    For Violin, Viola, Cello, and Piano
    144-40204 Piano Quartet
    140-40071 Piano Set Ii 140-40071 19:00 2 Pianos 4 Hands
    144-40255 Sand 144-40255 5:30
    144-40451 Sonata 144-40451 26:00 Violin with Piano
    144-40206 String Quartet No. 1 144-40206 String Quartet
    144-40207 String Quartet No. II 144-40207 String Quartet
    144-40390 Woodwind Quintet 144-40390 12:00 Woodwind Quintet
    Chamber Ensemble with Voice
    141-40052 An E.E. Cummings Songbook
    For Tenor (Or Soprano) and Piano
    141-40052 24:00
    141-40085 Amichai Songs 141-40085 19:00 Chamber Ensemble
    144-40475 Brass Quintet
    For 2 Trumpets, Horn, Tenor Trombone, and Bass Trombone
    144-40475 16:00 Brass Quintet
    141-40045 Breath In A Ram’s Horn
    Songs for My Father, for Tenor (Or Soprano) and Piano
    141-40045 13:00 Voice with Piano
    144-40664 Breath In A Ram’s Horn
    Songs For My Father
    144-40664 :13:00 Voice and Instrument
    141-40040 My Father’s Name Was . . .
    For Voice, Piano, and Bass
    141-40040 4:00 Voice and Instrument
    10131 On the Surface
    for Soprano, Oboe, 2 Percussion, Harp and Electric Cello
    10131 25:00 Sop.; Ob. 2Prc. Hp. Ele.Vcl.
    141-40030 Pines Songs
    For Oboe, Bass-baritone, and Piano
    141-40030 17:00 Voice and Instrument
    141-40029 Pines Songs
    For Soprano (Or Mezzo) and Piano
    141-40029 15:00 Voice with Piano
    141-40026 Psalm 30
    For Voice, Piano, and Violin
    141-40026 12:00 Voice and Instrument
    141-40027 Sacred Songs
    For Flute, Voice, Guitar, and Violoncello
    141-40027 14:00 Voice with Instrument
    141-40073 Sacred Songs
    For Voice, Flute, Violoncello, and Piano
    141-40073 14:00 Chamber Ensemble
    11391 Sand II
    for Chamber Ensemble and Mezzo-soprano
    11391 19:00 Mezzo-sop.; 2Fl. Cl. 2Perc. 2Pno. or El.Pno.
    11393 Songs From the Page of Swords
    for Bass-Baritone, Oboe and Chamber Ensemble
    11393 25:00 1 0 2 1; 1 0 0 0; Perc. Pno. Str.(2 1 1 1)
    141-40028 Songs From The Page Of Swords
    For Bass-Baritone, Oboe, and Piano
    141-40028 25:00 Voice and Instrument
    Chorus
    446-41111 Celebration 446-41111
    342-40176 Jake Hates 342-40176 0:45
    342-40175 Purer Than Purest Pure
    An E.E. Cummings Set for S.A.T.B. Chorus, A Cappella
    342-40175 8:00 SATB
    342-40200 The She Set 342-40200 9:00 SATB
    342-40199 Sound Shapes
    For SATB Chorus and Pitchpipes
    342-40199 8:00 SATB
    11394 Sound Shapes 11394 13:00 SSAATTBB and Pitchpipes
    Orchestra
    11381 At the Far Edge 11381 12:00 4 3 4 3 – 6 4 3 1; Timp. 4Perc. Pno.(Cel.) 2Hp. Str.
    11383 Black Light 11383 10:00 2 2 2 2 – 4 3 2 1; Timp. 3Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    11384 Gateways 11384 5:00 4(Picc. A.Fl.) 4(E.H.) 4(EbCl. B.Cl.) 4(Cbsn.) – 4 4 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Pno. Str.
    10081 Once Again 10081 4:30 2 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    11390 Rivalries
    Chamber Orchestra
    11390 14:00 1 1 1 1 S.Sax. – 1 1 1 0; Timp. 4Perc. Pno. Str.
    11395 Symphony No. 1 11395 24:00 3 3 3 3 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Pno. Cel. Hp. Str.
    11397 Symphony No. 2
    (Celebration Symphony/Khagiga: In Memoriam Leonard Bernstein)
    11397 26:00 3 3 3 3 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 4Perc. Hp. Pno./Cel./Synth. Str.
    11398 Symphony No. 3 11398 40:00 4 4 4 4 – 6 4 3 1; Timp. 4Perc. Pno.(Cel.) 2Hp. Str.
    11399 Symphony No. 4 11399 25:00 2 2 2 2 – 4 2 2 0; Timp. 3Perc. Pno.(Cel.) Hp. Str.
    10170 Then Something Happened
    (A Languid Dance)
    10170 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(dbl. B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 4Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    16917 What About It
    for Orchestra
    16917 7:00 3(Picc) 3(dbl. E.H.) 3(dbl.B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 2Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    17088 Why(?) Jacob
    for Large Orchestra
    17088 3(dbl. Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(dbl.B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    Orchestra with Soloist(s)
    17416 Cello Concerto 17416 25:00 Solo Vcl.; 2(Picc.) 2(E.H.) 2 2(Cbsn.) – 4 2 2 0; Timp. 3Perc. Hp. Str.
    11388 Ossabaw Island Dream 11388 Complete: 43:Movements 1-5: 20:00 Mezzo. (or Ten.); 4 3 3 2 – 4 4 4 1; Timp. 5Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    11387 Ossabaw Island Dream
    for Small Orchestra
    11387 Complete: 38:Movements 1-5: 18:00 Mezzo (or Ten.); Small Orchestra (Str. Perc. Pno./Cel./El.Org. Hp.)
    11389 Piano Concerto 11389 37:00 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 2 1; Tmp. 3Perc. Hp. Str.
    17158 Symphony No. 5 17158 35:00 Solo Tenor, Solo Bass-baritone, SATB Chorus, 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(3dbl. B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp., 3Perc. Pno.(Cel.) Hp. Str.
    11400 Three Movements
    for Trumpet and Orchestra
    11400 12:00 Solo Tpt.; Hp. Perc. Pno./Cel./El.Org. Str.
    11401 V’shamru
    for Baritone (Cantor) and Chamber Orchestra
    11401 7:00 1 1 1 1 – 1 0 0 0; Hp. Org. Str.
    Band / Wind Ensemble
    10105 Gateways
    for Band
    10105 5:00
    Fixed Media
    11380 As Above 11380 17:00 Electronic Tape
    11386 Miles Mix 11386 12:00 Electronic Tape
    11392 Shtay 11392 5:00 Electronic Tape

  • Asia’s works were cogent, coherent, and powerful as well as moving. I rejoiced in a modern American composer who was so generously endowed with a gift for writing important and beautiful new music. Five out of six works on the disc contain some of the most beautifully written and intensely moving 20th-century music you are apt to hear. This is a superb release, and as good a place as any to begin your discovery of the music of Daniel Asia if you haven’t already made its acquaintance. He is a major American talent, and I’ve yet to encounter anything by him…that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed. A very strong recommendation goes to this excellent Summit recording.
    –Jerry Dubins, Fanfare

    …his music is essential and pure, for sure, and it doesn’t consciously try to be familiar. Asia’s low-fat approach certainly focuses your ears on spare lines the way Gregorian chants do, producing a dreamy, hypnotic, trance-like effect. The resulting emphasis on the texts is music to any writer’s ears, mine included. … He chooses his colors carefully without throwing the whole rainbow at you at once, and he is meticulous and craftsmanlike about composing. And, like any meticulous piece of craftsmanship, you can’t always see the miters of the dovetailing – but you know the surfaces is smooth and the result will last a long time.
    –David Wolman, Fanfare

    Asia writes in a dissonant but lyrical vein that is admirably expressive of the poetry he chooses.
    –Greenfield, American Record Guide

    Repeated listening confirmed my initial thoughts, that Asia’s choral sound world, with it opaque texture and not quite melodies, is quite distinctive.

    …it has a particularness which makes it well worth investigating.
    –Robert Hugill, Music Web International

    …a leading member of that talented post-World War II generation of American composers.
    –Paul A. Snook, Fanfare

    All in all, this turns out to be one of the premier releases of American chamber music of 2004.
    –Paul A. Snook, Fanfare

    A LAMENT
    …eloquent…
    –Joseph McLellan, Washington Post

    B FOR J
    “B for J” was another highlight of the program. Alternating sections of lyrically composed music for flute and bass clarinet were contrasted with a solo trombone and cushioned by an other-worldly bed of higher strings, synthesized organ and rumbling basses. The work seemed timeless and ethereal and was well-received by the audience.
    –Daniel Buckley , Tuscon Citizen

    BLACK LIGHT
    A sensuous approach to sound and a generous exploitation of instruments—that makes orchestras want to schedule such music and listeners pay to hear it. He is among the more interesting composers in the emerging American generation.
    –Bernard Holland, New York Times

    BRASS QUINTET
    …displays an almost Renaissance-like manner, especially in its austere but eloquent “Tranquil and elegaic” middle movement.
    –Paul A. Snook, Fanfare

    BREATH IN RAM’S HORN
    I especially liked “Ram’s Horn”, which recalled various aspects of the Jewish experience and explored Pines’ stormy relationship with his late parents. Some of the music, with its oft-repeated and heavily pedaled passages, seemed to suggest the relentlessness of the “unmediated suffering” visited upon Job. And in a wonderfully catchy tune that would have graced the finest Yiddish musical, Pines finally comes to terms with his parents whom he can never escape.
    –Ken Keuffel Jr. , The Arizona Daily Star

    GATEWAYS
    Playful in a punchy way, the five-minute curtain raiser brims with jaunty rhythms and brilliant orchestration.
    — Daniel Buckley , Tuscon Citizen

    intricate rhythms and boisterous Midwestern braggadocio, it sounds like a mix of Stravinsky and Leonard Bernstein. Brassy, robust “oompahs” alternate with quieter episodes, conveying an infectious, all-American optimism. In fact, if another “Fanfare for the Common Man” is to come from this season’s crop of centennial fanfares, Asia’s “Gateways” may be it.
    –Mary Ellen Hutton, The Cincinnati Post

    …a brilliant fanfare with appealing character and colorful, Stravinsky-esque harmony and texture. Its superb orchestration is evidence of the craftsmanship of this composer.
    –Janelle Gelfand, The Cincinnati Enquirer

    NONET
    Asia’s new work comes in the form of six character movements…
    His style reminds me of works by composers like Jacob Druckman or Gunther Schuller, whose best music explores structure, dissonant harmonies, and form through traditional playing styles.

    –Thomas Busse, San Fransisco Classical Voice

    OSSABAW ISLAND DREAM
    Most rewarding of this concert, and in fact of all the others referred to here, was the world premiere of “Ossabaw Island Dream”, a song cycle by Daniel Asia set to similarly titled poetry of Paul Pines—rewarding because it is accessible, interesting, well-written, and new.
    –Stults, Northwest Arts

    PIANO CONCERTO
    …by far the biggest offering on this Koch anthology is the “Piano Concerto” (1994), an approachable, strongly communicative 37-minute work, whose rhythmically invigorating outer movements frame a mellifluous (but not always untroubled) 20-minute meditation.
    –AA, Gramophone

    Asia’s concerto extends the American tradition of such pieces as Barber’s “Essay No. 2” and Copland’s “Symphony No. 3”, which were also played…on Thursday’s program. The new piece suffers not at all by comparison with its distinguished forbears.
    –Tom Strini, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Asia’s work is a remarkable pastiche of colorful orchestration surrounding jazzy rhythms and dark romanticism with an internal depth, almost a brooding intensity, propelling it forward.
    –Jeff Kaczmarczyk, The Grand Rapids Press

    The slow movement, in minor key, is the emotional center, revolving around a plaintive, hypnotic unison. The outer movements are by turn angular, playful and energetic, with the easy syncopation that pleased Bernstein and Copland.
    –Leslie Kandell, New York Times

    Pianists have no shortage of concertos to choose from. Still, the appearance of an significant new one is no everyday affair. Daniel Asia’s aspires to a place in the grand tradition… The fast, angular outer movements, built on rhythmically charged cells of melody, have the energy of the fashionable minimalists without their impoverished imagination. The unusual, slow inner movement begins in a grippingly sustained crescendo that seems destined either to reverse itself or to explode. Instead it gives way to a seductive meditation of a distinctly Middle Eastern cast, tinged with a richer chromaticism, which spills over into the high-voltage finale… Exposure by America’s Big Five orchestras is overdue.
    –Austin Baer, The Atlantic Monthly

    PIANO QUARTET
    The highlight of the evening was the West Coast premiere of Daniel Asia’s “Piano Quartet”…The three-movement piece is a wonder of textures, mixing fingered and open-string timbres with extensive use of string harmonics.
    –John Sutherland, The Seattle Times

    Daniel Asia is among the most accomplished and accessible composers of his generation…”Piano Quartet” is in the same chromatic tonal language as the “Scherzo Sonata”. The first movement has an edgy but mysterious beauty. The second shows the old-fashioned virtues of thorough thematic development. This is gorgeous music, passionate and lyrical. The final movement opens with a theme that could almost be a folk dance….Daniel Asia is a genuine creative spirit, and excellent composer, and that rarest of contemporary musicians, a gifted melodist. He is a welcome addition to the roster of our strongest group of living composers, the tonal postmodernists…
    –Elliot S. Hurwitt, Schwann Opus

    It’s a beautifully constructed, substantive work with supported lyrical melodies wrapped in light, airy, fragments. Asia has moved on from his earlier quartets…to a fusion of line, harmony, syncopated rhythm and sparkling comment that is most satisfying.
    –Philippa Kiraly, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

    PIANO TRIO
    The themes are wonderful, and Asia’s stated determination that music is capable of conveying life’s big meaning comes across lovingly – and rightly – here. Rarely do first hearings affect me so readily, but this one grabbed me and won’t let go. Highly recommended.
    –Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition

    This century has given birth to only a handful of great piano trios. Daniel Asia’s may be one of them. Asia’s three-movement gem owes its existence to Philip Vance, who commissioned Asia to write it.
    –Ken Keuffel Jr. , The Arizona Daily Star

    Asia’s 1997 “Piano Trio” was by far the most difficult from a technical standpoint, but arguably one of his most accessible and immediately striking works….With its jaunty, dancing syncopation and fairly straightforward harmony scheme, the outer movements of the three-movement work seemed Coplandesque in character. But on finer examination, the harmonies were more muted and the themes more fragmented. Materials were passed amongst the three players with speed and surgical precision, generating a sense of mosaiclike cohesion from somewhat scrambled elements. Its inner movement was especially powerful, conjuring up a variety of moods appropriate to the memorial nature of the piece.
    –Daniel Buckley , Tuscon Citizen

    PINES SONGS
    Pines Songs captured the many moods imaginatively, whether conveying gloom, mirth, pessimism, or surreality.
    –Lenny Cavallaro, New Haven Register

    …is a humorous collection of poems in which comical emphasis of words is offset by playful, coloristic instrumental writing.
    –Willa J. Conrad, The Baltimore Evening Sun

    …this composer’s spikier, sparer idiom was perfectly suited to the poems’ self-conscious wit and whimsy and in the final number —‘I Walk Out to the End’— Asia was able to reach a level that was as lyrical as it was personal.
    –Stephen Wigler, The Baltimore Sun

    The concert ended with Mr. Asia’s 25-minute “Pines Songs” (1984), which consists of five settings of poems by Paul Pines and two optional instrumental interludes, played on Tuesday for the first time in this country. It sounded appealing, in its Impressionistic way.
    –Rockwell, New York Times

    Back in Quintessence No. 11 (February 1991) I wrote at some length of Daniel Asia’s “Pines Songs” …a work of which I thought — and still think — very highly …Its language is that of a broadly extended tonality that allows for the most simple as well as the complex sonorities…
    –Bruce Creditor, The Clarinet

    RIVALRIES
    “Rivalries”, by conductor-composer Daniel Asia, is an exceedingly intelligent, clean, engaging, and well-crafted work… His music is full of tension and release, sometimes combative, sometimes playfully flexible with the inflections of jazz rhythms: music for the here and now, that should also wear well.
    –Muse, The Arts Newspaper for Colorado

    The evening’s most eloquently argued piece was Daniel Asia’s “Rivalries”, which handled complex instrumental forces with impressive poise and sophistication. With the composer conducting, it also brought some of the evening’s best instrumental playing (from the Brooklyn Philharmonic).
    –Holland, New York Times

    SAND II
    Daniel Asia conducted (the Endymion Ensemble, Tate Gallery, London) with prodigious perception… “Sand II” contained beautiful textures and inventive scoring.
    –Marks, Musical Times, London

    The concert’s central work was “Sand II”, a set of six poems by Gary Snyder for voice, flutes, clarinet, percussion and pianos. The voice, given a bluesy inflection, alternately rose out of crumbling sonorities, faded into the blurred textures and created mysterious moods.
    –Salisbury , Cleveland Plain Dealer

    SCHERZO SONATA
    This was the first northwest performance of this absorbing, seven movement work, 31 minutes long. Spare and restful at either end, the sonata’s middle movements are both varied and related…. Shames gave a masterly performance, laying out the structure, with its overlying musical beauties and intricacies.
    –Philippa Kiraly, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

    By far the most important, imposing and ambitious work on the program was Asia’s “Scherzo Sonata” …The sonata is a grand seven-movement arch, beginning and ending with related adagio movements framing three thematically linked scherzos, which are separated from each other by a piquant allegretto and a rarefied adagietto…This is uncompromising music, and Shames is an uncompromising pianist who can barrel through the most difficult passages fearlessly and yet make the ethereal slow movements seem the true heart of the score.
    –James Reel, The Arizona Daily Star

    The “Scherzo Sonata” for piano tends to the rhapsodic, with the influence of Scriabin and Syzmanowski in the background, though rhythms owe more to Tippett and jazz. Despite its complexity, this is understated, mostly gentle music… Asia’s music is striking out in a distinctive direction, separate from both the dense academic style and from minimalism.
    –Andy Hawkins, The Wire

    The piece proceeds in a broadly paced pattern. Even the scherzi movements seem imbued with a certain deliberate rigor. The slow sections display a lovely lyrical gift, and a calm feel for grand spaciousness in the manner of Feldman…The material, while sophisticated in language and structure, is deeply satisfying on an emotional and intellectual level. Asia transcends the sheer technical demands of his craft to achieve a powerful sense of expression.
    –Peter Purwasser, Fanfare

    …seven finely worked movements of varied and occasionally elusive character. The opening and closing show a moonstruck Frank Bridge-like ethereality, the adagietto breathes like a gorgeous long-spanned aria and the middle section of the Scherzo No. 1 is enjoyably cockeyed.
    –Richard Buell, The Boston Globe

    SONATA FOR VIOLIN AND PIANO
    …dance-like energy… The whole work imparts a satisfying sense of form and substance, as if an interesting story is being related. … Daniel Asia is a prolific…composer who has developed a distinctive voice that…transcends technical considerations and allows him to express himself in a direct and confident manner.
    –Peter Burwasser, Fanfare

    His slow movements are beautifully constructed with a fine architectonic curve that provides much drama. … If I was a violinist I would take this sonata up posthaste – it’s that good.

    –Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition

    STRING QUARTET NO. 2
    …a natural and unfettered thematic fertility coupled with a noticeable economy of content and coherence of form.
    –Paul A. Snook, Fanfare

    STRING QUARTET NO. 3
    One of the most stimulating and consistently inventive new string quartets we’ve heard in years … an engaging needle-spray of sound … Particularly striking are the irregular little stops in the music, never settling into a predictable routine. Rhythms, however irregular, are the driving force… Like any opus so rich in ideas, it fairly cries out for repeat hearings in order to be properly assimilated.
    –Paul Hertelendy, artssf.com

    …seven movement, with moments of occasional innocence… motoric rhythms … and playful conjuring of colors and textures, new sounds for a string quartet.
    –Richard Scheinin, San Jose Mercury News

    Asia in an experimenter…, a careul thinker who also takes risks.
    –Richard Scheinin, San Jose Mercury News

    SYMPHONY NO. 1
    Asia’s “Symphony No. 1” shows astonishing skill in handling the orchestra…The description ‘neoimpressionist’ is an apt one, with its ear tickling accents (piccolo, celeste) and vivid washes of sound. All in all, a most congenial work.
    –Mary Ellen Hutton, The Cincinnati Post

    One of the most stimulating and consistently inventive new string quartets we’ve heard in years…
    –Paul Hertelendy, artssf.com

    SYMPHONY NO. 2
    …the peculiarly elevating juncture of restlessness and stasis, lushness and austerity, grandiosity and intimacy that the work produces speaks quietly and urgently to the human condition at large.
    –Kenneth LaFave, American Record Guide

    SYMPHONY NO. 3
    Broad, warm brass chorales and bright-colored, rapidly-pulsing filigree material washed over one another, creating collages of bustling rhythm and sunny harmony… With an ear to instrumental color, balance and exotic harmony, Asia created luminous phrases of utmost beauty.
    –Daniel Buckley , Tuscon Citizen

    SYMPHONY NO. 4
    Elegiac tenderness, and a bumptious finale… He has a special way of making the woodwinds swirl.
    –James Reel, Arizona Daily Star

    SYMPHONY NO. 5
    …the composer has a taste for expression, he is open to various styles and sensitive and knowledgeable in the instrumentation.
    –Jana Tomažicová, Plzensky denik

    THREE MOVEMENTS
    Mr. Asia has created a work that is eclectic but unified, informed but not overly referential. One may detect elements gleaned from Webern (a delicate, almost pointillistic approach to orchestration), Berg (a certain Expressionist formal sweep), Hindemith (a sort of jazzy Classicism) and, especially, late 50’s Miles Davis, but the finished product is the composer’s own.
    –Tim Page , New York Times

    WHY(?) JACOB
    A nostalgic piece that reflects on a childhood friend killed in the 1973 Israel Yom Kippur war. The piece’s strength lies in its melancholy as much as its nagging questions of why…It’s a powerful work…
    –Cathalena E. Burch, The Arizona Daily Star

    “Why (?) Jacob”, which Asia wrote in 1979 and arranged for full orchestra last year, is a nostalgic piece that reflects on a childhood friend killed in the 1973 Israel Yom Kippur War. The piece’s strength lies in its melancholy as much as its nagging question of why, punctuated by a percussive blast midstream that sounded like a gunshot. It’s a powerful work that the TSO played with reverence.
    –Cathalena E. Burch, The Arizona Daily Star

    At just over 12 minutes in length, this is one piece of modern music that I wish could have gone on longer. But then, that’s what the repeat button is for.
    –Jerry Dubins, Fanfare

    WOODWIND QUINTET
    …utterly disarming…an outstanding contribution to the woodwind quintet repertoire that invites and deserves repeated hearings.
    –Paul A. Snook, Fanfare

    Also from Mr. Asia’s pen is a fine “Woodwind Quintet”… it runs the gamut from jaunty music… a long, ruminative melody that is embellished with contrapuntal or supporting lines on repetitions, to the last movement which presents a continuous development of a short asymmetrical phrase, becoming harmonically and registerally more elaborate before ending in repose.
    –Bruce Creditor, The Clarinet

  • To Open in Praise TO OPEN IN PRAISE
    Summit Records (DCD703); July 7, 2017
    Performer(s): Lontano, conducted by Odaline de la Martinez; Jeremy Huw Williams, baritone; Ellen Chamberlain, violin; Paula Fan, piano; Robert Swensen, tenor;
    Work(s): Amichai Songs
    Breath in a Ram’s Horn
    Psalm 30
    Sonata for Violin & Piano, Piano Trio SONATA FOR VIOLIN & PIANO, PIANO TRIO
    Summit Records (DCD509); October 14, 2008
    Performer(s): Curtis Macomber/Violin, Christopher Oldfather/Piano, Frantisek Soucek/Violin, Vladimir Fortin/Cello, Richard Ormrod/Piano
    Work(s): Piano Trio
    Sonata for Violin and Piano
    Solos: Solo Works of Daniel Asia SOLOS: SOLO WORKS OF DANIEL ASIA
    Summit Records (DCD422); May 1, 2005
    Performer(s): Benny Sluchin
    Work(s): Dream Sequence I
    Marimba Music
    Orange
    The Alex Set
    Triology: Chamber Music of Daniel Asia TRIOLOGY: CHAMBER MUSIC OF DANIEL ASIA
    Summit Records (DCD385); February 1, 2004
    Performer(s): American Brass Quintet
    Work(s): Brass Quintet
    String Quartet No. 2
    Woodwind Quintet
    Breath in a Ram's Horn BREATH IN A RAM’S HORN
    Summit Records (DCD336); May 3, 2003
    Performer(s): Robert Swensen, tenor, Faye Robinson, soprano, Tannis Gibson, piano
    Work(s): Pines Songs
    Breath in a Ram’s Horn
    an e.e. cummings Songbook
    Soepa: American Guitar Music SOEPA: AMERICAN GUITAR MUSIC
    Mushkatweek Records (B00005QDSW); September 1, 2001
    Performer(s): Benjamin Verdery
    Work(s): Your Cry Will Be A Whisper
    Daniel Asia: Ivory DANIEL ASIA: IVORY
    Summit Records (DCD286); May 1, 2001
    Performer(s): Jonathan Shames, piano; The Bridge Ensemble
    Work(s): Piano Quartet
    Scherzo Sonata
    Why(?) Jacob
    The Symphonic Works of Daniel Asia: Gateways THE SYMPHONIC WORKS OF DANIEL ASIA: GATEWAYS
    Summit Records (DCD285); February 27, 2001
    Performer(s): New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, James Sedares, conductor; Andre-Michael Schub, piano
    Work(s): Black Light
    Gateways
    Piano Concerto
    Daniel Asia: Songs From The Page Of Swords DANIEL ASIA: SONGS FROM THE PAGE OF SWORDS
    Summit Records (DCD257); May 1, 2000
    Performer(s): John Shirley-Quirk, bass-baritone; Sara Watkins, oboe; Carmen Pelton, soprano; Musical Elements Daniel Asia, conductor
    Work(s): Songs From The Page Of Swords
    Two Sacred Songs
    An American Patchwork AN AMERICAN PATCHWORK
    Smooth Stone Productions, Inc. (B00004TDKO); April 24, 2000
    Performer(s): Michael Hester
    Work(s): The Alex Set
    The Symphonic Works of Daniel Asia: At The Far Edge THE SYMPHONIC WORKS OF DANIEL ASIA: AT THE FAR EDGE
    Summit Records (DCD256); February 15, 2000
    Performer(s): New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, James Sedares, conductor
    Work(s): At The Far Edge
    Symphony No. 1
    Symphony No. 4
    Music of Dan Asia MUSIC OF DAN ASIA
    Albany Records (TROY106); January 1, 1994
    Performer(s): Oberlin Contemporary Ensemble
    Work(s): Miles Mix
    Rivalries
    Sand II
    Shtay
    String Quartet No. 1
    Daniel Asia: Symphonies No. 2 & No. 3 DANIEL ASIA: SYMPHONIES NO. 2 & NO. 3
    CRI/New World Records (80447-2); January 1, 1993
    Performer(s): Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Robert Bernhardt, Music Director and Conductor
    Work(s): Symphony No. 2
    Symphony No. 3

  • 2010: Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters
    2005: Purchase of the Daniel Asia Music Archive by Yale University Library
    2005: Yale School of Music Distinguished Alumni Award
    1991: Distinguished Alumni Award, The Lakeside School, Seattle, WA

  • Amichai Songs
    for Voice, Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano
    At the Far Edge
    for Orchestra
    Black Light
    for Orchestra
    Breath in a Ram’s Horn
    for Voice, Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano
    Cello Concerto
    Gateways
    for Band
    Gateways
    for Orchestra
    Nonet
    Once Again
    for Orchestra
    Ossabaw Island Dream
    for Orchestra
    Piano Concerto
    Rivalries
    for Chamber Ensemble
    Symphony No. 1
    for Orchestra
    Symphony No. 2
    for Orchestra
    Symphony No. 3
    for Orchestra
    Symphony No. 4
    for Orchestra
    Symphony No. 5
    for Chorus and Orchestra
    Then Something Happened
    A Languid Dance for Orchestra
    V’shamru
    for Baritone (Cantor) and Chamber Orchestra
    What About It
    for Orchestra
    Why(?) Jacob
    for Large Orchestra

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