Among the recent commissions of composer Daniel Felsenfeld are The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, a musical resetting of David Bowie’s lyrics for the Real Quiet trio and singer Corey Dargel; The Curse of Sophistication, a piano concerto for Andrew Russo to be premiered by the Metropolis Ensemble; The Cohen Variations for pianist Simone Dinnerstein; Revolutions of Ruin, an oratorio for the Great Noise Ensemble performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in May, 2009; You. Have. No. Idea., a string quartet for ETHEL; From Sleepless Nights, a piece for cellist-singer written for Jody Redhage; All Work and No Play, a piccolo piece for Stephanie Mortimore, performed at Carnegie Hall in 2007; and a song cycle for mezzo-soprano Betany Cofflane. He composed Insomnia Redux; 4am for the Da Capo Chamber Players for their Merkin Hall concert in June, 2010.
Felsenfeld has also won commissions to write On Murder: Considered as One of the Fine Arts, a song cycle with lyrics by the writer Wesley Stace to accompany the release of his novel Charles Jessold Considered as a Murderer. Performances are slated for New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Aspen. Addition collaborations with Stace (in his guise as singer John Wesley Harding) include the madrigal cycle Music Doesn’t Want Me, as well as the theme to his popular touring variety show, John Wesley Harding’s Cabinet of Wonders. Felsenfeld will be collaborating with Sequitur, violinist Caroline Goulding, violist Nadia Sirota, choreographer Jenny Showalter, and violist Wendy Richman. He is also beginning a long collaborative project with the writers Rick Moody, Michael Chabon, Rosanne Cash, Jonathan Lethem, Lydia Lunch, Susan Orlean, and Colum McCann, among many others. This piece will mark the debut of Felsenfeld’s own ensemble, the FelsenPhilharmonic.
In the summer of 2010, Felsenfeld’s opera The Bloody Chamber will receive readings with Goat Hall Productions in Berkeley, California, and Opera on Tap’s series “Opera Grows in Brooklyn” at the Galapagos Arts Space. In the spring of 2009, the PEN Foundation sponsored Collaborations/Elaborations, an evening based on Felsenfeld’s collaborations with writers. Opera After Hours, an evening of music theatre, was performed at the Zipper Factory in April 2008 (directed by Christopher Alden). In January of 2011, his monodrama Nora, In the Great Outdoors, written for soprano Caroline Worra in collaboration with playwright Will Eno, will be part of American Opera Projects’ First Look Series. His opera The Last of Manhattan was commissioned by and premiered at The Kitchen in 2003, and in 2004 another opera, Summer and All it Brings, was chosen to be part of New York City Opera’s VOX 2004: Showcasing American Composers.
Commercially available recordings of his work include pianist Andrew Russo’s Dirty Little Secrets and Mix Tape (on Endeavor Classics) and pianist Jenny Lin’s American Insomniac (on Koch). A forthcoming CD devoted to Felsenfeld’s chamber music will be available on Naxos in 2011. He has received fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and the Wellesley Composers Conference. He lives in Brooklyn.
Daniel Felsenfeld appears in the following:
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I can’t sleep. I’ve tried just about everything for years and it still eludes me. So, in 2003, when pianist Jenny Lin asked me to make her a piece, I decided to try to make music about my nocturnal life, not so much for therapeutic purposes (I’ve never felt composing was good for that) but rather to outline the feeling of a single moment of sleeplessness—that in-vain few seconds in the night when you beg to drift off but a seemingly unstoppable force prevents it.