Corey Dargel (born 1977) is a Texas-bred, Brooklyn-based composer, writer, and singer whose gentle assault on pop and classical idioms creates a tension that pervades his music. Deadpan and detached vocals reveal heartbreaking intimacies, awkward and obtrusive drum patterns struggle against fragile harmonies, vocals and music uneasily oppose each other as songs stumble to their ends. The New Yorker magazine calls him “a baroquely unclassifiable” composer of “ingenious nouveau art songs.” Salon praises his songs’ “rococo ingenuity” and “sustained bursts of lyrical brilliance,” and according to Gramophone magazine, he has “a compositional sense guaranteed to keep close listeners on their toes. Words and music are truly equal partners….”
Dargel’s music has been profiled by Rachel Maddow (The Rachel Maddow Show), Kurt Andersen (Studio 360), Alison Stewart (Weekend Edition), and David Garland (Spinning On Air).
Dargel has released two solo albums, Less Famous Than You in 2006 on the Use Your Teeth label and Other People’s Love Songs by New Amsterdam Records in 2008. The New York Times calls Other People’s Love Songs “at once wistful and wry, tender and irreverent…. [G]iving voice to the lives and relationships of his subjects, [Dargel] invests melodies with playful melismatic turns, evoking Kurt Weill cabaret….” Jayson Greene of Pitchfork.com writes, “[Dargel] plays the role of a sardonic-hipster Cyrano, translating…tangled and intense feelings into artful, sophisticated pop songs.” His third album, Someone Will Take Care of Me, was released by New Amsterdam Records in May, 2010, and distributed by Naxos of America.
Removable Parts, Dargel’s music-theater piece about love and voluntary amputation, won the 2007 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Performance-Art Production and was hailed by the New York Times as “almost perversely pleasurable… with an intelligent grace that is as moving as it is impressive.” Removable Parts was remounted in 2009 as part of HERE Arts Center’s Culturemart festival and the Public Theater’s “Under the Radar” festival.
Dargel received his formal training in music composition at Oberlin Conservatory, where he studied privately with John Luther Adams, Pauline Oliveros, Brenda Hutchinson, and Lewis Neilson. He has received awards and residencies from the MAP Fund, the American Composers Forum, the Jerome Foundation, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the MacDowell Colony, New Dramatists, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts.