Daniel Stephen Johnson

Daniel Stephen Johnson was born in the desert and learned to play the violin. After studying viola and English at the University of Southern California, he wrote fiction at Columbia University. Then he moved to Connecticut, where he worked at a record shop and wrote about music, literature and comedy for the New Haven Advocate and the Believer. Now he lives in Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, and works as a sheet music salesman in Queens.

He's written notes for programs by musicians like Daníel Bjarnason, Nico Muhly and Gidon Kremer, for magazines including Opera News and Parterre Box, and of course for his own website, danielstephenjohnson.com.

Daniel Stephen Johnson appears in the following:

Philip Glass's Piano Etudes Exemplify a Muscular Late Period

Monday, November 24, 2014

Philip Glass's complete set of 20 Etudes are released on this disc for the first time, recorded by Maki Namekawa for the composer's Orange Mountain Music label. Stream the album now. 

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Erkki-Sven Tüür Brandishes His Rock Chops in Fifth Symphony

Monday, November 03, 2014

Erkki-Sven Tüür has gained a reputation as one of Estonia's most exciting and fascinating composers. His new album illustrates that he also knows how to cut loose... and rock.

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New Record Label Debuts with Auspicious, Witty 'Violin'

Monday, September 15, 2014

The most surprising thing about the debut of VIA Records, the label whose arrival is heralded by the release of Anna Clyne's "The Violin," is that it didn't happen long ago. 

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Cincinnati Symphony Mines the Terror of the Sublime in 'Hallowed Ground'

Monday, September 08, 2014

Issued on Cincinnati Symphony's own label, "Hallowed Ground" finds unexpected connections between David Lang's hard, bitter pieces and those by Aaron Copland and Nico Muhly.

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Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble Takes Flight with 'Excelsior'

Monday, August 25, 2014

Fifth House Ensemble's new album "Excelsior" builds itself up gradually from the luminous energy of Alex Shapiro's "Perpetual Spark" to Caleb Burhans's half-hour title track.

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From Russia to Iran: Pianist Tara Kamangar Travels 'East of Melancholy'

Monday, August 11, 2014

Pianist Tara Kamangar's "East of Melancholy" is a luxuriously lovely recital of virtuoso piano music spanning musical traditions from Russia to Iran. Stream the entire album.

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Richard Reed Parry Taps Performers' Inner Metronomes in 'Music for Heart and Breath'

Monday, July 21, 2014

Richard Reed Parry, a composer and member of the rock band Arcade Fire, writes classical compositions based the actual pulse of the performers themselves. Stream his "Music for Heart and Breath" all this week. 

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NY Phil Biennial Roundup: Sound if Safe Success

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The inaugural New York Philharmonic Biennial, a string of contemporary music performances held around the city, proved to be—while void of risk—an enjoyable event. Check out Daniel Stephen Johnson's roundup of the concerts. 

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World Premiere Recording of Per Nørgård's Robust, Brilliant Eighth Symphony

Monday, June 16, 2014

Per Nørgård's Eighth Symphony shows how the young composer has evolved into a mature, unmistakably contemporary artist. Stream the entire album all this week. 

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Alexander Melnikov Exudes Warmth in Shostakovich's Preludes & Fugues

Monday, June 09, 2014

Pianist Alexander Melnikov's rendition of Dmitri Shostakovich's 24 Preludes & Fugues, Op. 87, just reissued in a recent Harmonia Mundi recording, present the music of Shostakovich at its most agreeable. Stream the entire album all this week. 

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David Lang Sets Many Subtle Heartbreaks in 'love fail'

Monday, May 19, 2014

David Lang's love fail is a sort of micro-opera about subtle heartbreak and based on the legend that inspired Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. Listen to the entire album, featuring Anonymous 4, this week. 

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From Fingerboard to Fretboard: Philip Glass's String Quartets on Guitars

Monday, May 05, 2014

The cool, restrained interpretations of the Dublin Guitar Quartet performing arrangements of Glass's string quartets speak more like a virginal harpsichord with an unusually sweet voice. Listen to the entire album. 

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Venerable Label Makes Bold Move with Emerging Composer Jacob Cooper

Monday, April 28, 2014

Jacob Cooper's "Silver Threads" helps Nonesuch Records close a certain hipness gap between their venerable roster and the composers of his generation. Listen to the album in full all this week.

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Julia Wolfe Bores a Hole Through the Mountain with 'Steel Hammer'

Monday, April 21, 2014

"Steel Hammer," the new album by Bang on a Can co-founder Julia Wolfe, features a musical retelling of that great American tall tale of John Henry. Stream the album in full all this week.

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Alfred Schnittke's Piano Music and Crushingly Unhappy End

Monday, April 07, 2014

Simon Smith's new collection of Alfred Schnittke's complete piano music offers a harrowing biographical portrait of the composer. Stream the entire album all this week.

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Kronos Quartet Distills 40 Years of Exploration into a 'Thousand Thoughts'

Monday, March 31, 2014

Kronos Quartet's new 40th anniversary compilation, "A Thousand Thoughts," takes a well-earned victory lap by bringing together a generous helping of their globe-trotting musical excursions.

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Orli Shaham's Piano Album 'American Grace' Is a Decidedly Family Affair

Monday, March 10, 2014

Steven Mackey's new piano concerto for Orli Shaham is an easy fit with the music of John Adams on the new album "American Grace" from Canary Classics. Stream the entire album in full all this week. 

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Spektral Quartet's 'Chambers' Conveys a Vintage Sheen

Monday, February 10, 2014

Listening to "Chambers," the inaugural release from both the Spektral Quartet and their fellow Chicagoans, one could hardly imagine a more promising debut. Stream the full album all this week.

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Remembering Wojciech Kilar, Poland's Late Film-Music Giant

Monday, January 27, 2014

Polish composer and film arranger Wojciech Kilar wrote concert music that merits a closer listen. A new album collects three of works for chorus and orchestra from the 1980s. Stream it on Q2 Music.

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Pianist Commissions 10 Composers to Redefine 'American Vernacular'

Monday, January 13, 2014

For "American Vernacular," pianist Nicholas Phillips commissioned ten composers to each to write a piece inspired by their respective experiences of America. Stream the album all this week.

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