Daron Aric Hagen

  • photo by Karen Pearson

    Daron Hagen (b. 1961) was recognized in 2014 by the American Academy of Arts and Letters with an Academy Award citing his “outstanding artistic achievement and acknowledging the composer who has arrived at his or her own voice”—an extraordinary statement, as his effusively eclectic works blend with subversive fluency Renaissance polyphony and extended vocal techniques, 40s Americana and electro-acoustic soundscapes, ambient sound installations and opulent multi-media verismo operas, 60s folk rock and Weimar agitprop, sprawling Modernist sound mass works and exquisitely-wrought chamber works and concertos for traditional Japanese instruments. The citation goes on to characterize him as “a multi-faceted composer who does a first-rate job on anything concerning music—its creation, its performance, and its communicability. His remarkable and diverse music compositions include operas, choral works, symphonies, and chamber music. In addition, he is celebrated for his work as a conductor, artistic and stage director, and librettist.”

    Hagen is currently developing the “post-genre multi-media performance happening” ORSON REHEARSED for the Fifth House Ensemble at the Chicago College of Performing Arts, Afterwards, an evening-long cycle of songs for four singers and piano for the Brooklyn Art Song Society and Philadelphia’s Lyric Fest, and 9/10, a site-specific encounter for six singers and pre-recorded electro-acoustic sounds supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship melding improvisation and pre-notated arias that unfolds over dinner in a restaurant in Little Italy the night before the destruction of the Twin Towers.

    The mid-career recipient of commissions from the New York Philharmonic, Seattle Opera, Philadelphia Orchestra, and over a dozen other major orchestras and opera companies, he has written more than 350 works for the concert stage, including 9 operas (A Woman in Morocco, Shining Brow, Amelia, Bandanna, Vera of Las Vegas), and the forthcoming Orson, which he will also design and direct; 14 concertos (for Gary Graffman, Jaime Laredo, Sharon Robinson), 5 symphonies (Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Oakland, Albany, Phoenix), 22 song cycles (Paul Sperry, Kings Singers, Ashley Putnam); and dozens of chamber, band, and choral works. Hagen is a frequent conductor, collaborative pianist, librettist, and stage director of his own theatrical works who has worked with Leonard Bernstein, Ken Cazan, Michael Christie, Lara Downes, JoAnn Falletta, Nathan Gunn, Kate Lindsey, Michael Morgan, Robert Orth, Gerard Schwarz, Leonard Slatkin, and Stephen Wadsworth, among others.

    A Lifetime Member of the Corporation of Yaddo, a Trustee of the Douglas Moore Fund for American Opera, and Chair of Composition for the Wintergreen Festival Music Academy, he serves as a Distinguished Mentor for Composers Now, and has served as artistic director of the Seasons Music Festival, and as president of the Lotte Lehmann Foundation. Hagen made his debut as a stage director with Kentucky Opera and has directed productions at Symphony Space in New York City, the Actors Theatre of Louisville, and the McCarter Theater in Princeton (New York Stories, The Antient Concert, A Woman in Morocco). He writes regularly for the Huffington Post and other online journals.

    Born in Wisconsin, Hagen studied composition with Ned Rorem at the Curtis Institute and David Diamond at the Juilliard School, then worked extensively as a copyist and editor for numerous concert composers and Broadway shows, including Elliot Carter, Virgil Thomson, Gian Carlo Menotti, and Disney. He taught for a decade at Bard College, and served on the faculties of the Curtis Institute, the Chicago College of Performing Arts, New York University, and the Princeton Atelier, among others, before turning his attention solely to teaching privately and creating. His music is recorded on Naxos, Albany, CRI, and Bridge. A Manhattanite for 28 years, he and his wife, composer Gilda Lyons, moved Upstate in 2011 to raise their sons. (April 2017)

  • Cover Title (Subtitle) Duration Instrumentation
    20524 The Antient Concert
    1:00:00 Soprano, mezzo, soprano, lyric baritone, dramatic baritone, str.qt.
    20525 Bandanna
    An Opera in Two Acts and a Prologue
    1:58:00 2Fl.(1st dbl. Picc. 2nd dbl. Picc. A.Fl.) 2Ob.(E.H.) 3Cl.(B.Cl.) 2Bsn. – S.Sax. A.Sax. T.Sax. B.Sax. – 2Tpt.(Fgl.Hn.) 2Hn. Euph.(opt) 2Tbn. Tba. 3Db.; Timp. Perc. Pno. Hp.; Onstage
    20531 Prelude and Prayer from Bandanna
    14:00 Solo soprano; fl.(2) (I dbl. picc.), ob.(2), cl.(2), b.cl., bsn.(2).; s.sax., a.sax., t.sax., b., sax.; hn.(2), tpt.(2), tbn., tba.; timp., Perc. vib., mar.; hp., cb.(3)
    20534 Vera of Las Vegas
    A Nightmare Cabaret Opera in One Act
    1:00:00 Ob., Reed I (Cl. in Bb, Sop. Sax. in Bb), Reed II (Cl. in Bb, B.Cl. in Bb, A.Sax.in Eb), Bsn., tpt.in C, tbn., Drum Kit, Acoustic Piano, Yamaha Clavinova P-100 Synthesizer (or equivalent), Acoustic Guitar (doubling Elect. Lead Gtr. and Elect. B. Gtr.),
    20527 The Banner of My Purpose
    18:00 Baritone voice; picc., fl.(2), ob.(2), cl.(3), b.cl., bsn.(2), a.sax(2), t.sax., b.sax.; hn(4), tpt.(3), tbn.(2), b.tbn., euph., tba; timp., perc., db.
    20528 Broken Pieces
    A Love Story in One Scene
    25:00 Soprano voice, Tenor Voice; Pno. – or – Chamber Orch version: 1(dbl. Picc.) 1 1 1 – 1 1 0 0; Vibr. Str.
    20532 Suddenly
    6:00 2(Picc.) 2 2 2 – 4 3 2 1; Timp. 4Perc. Hp. Str.
    20530 The Heart of a Stranger
    16:00 Solo baritone voice; fl.(2), a. fl., ob.(2), eng.hn., cl.(2), b.cl., bsn.(3); hn.(3), tpt.(3); vib., mar.; hp., cb.
    Concert Band
    SPS4 Bandanna Overture
    8:00 Concert Band
    20533 Suddenly
    6′ picc., fl., ob., cl.(3), bass cl., bsn.; a.sax.(2), t.sax., bar. sax.; hn.(4), tpt.(3), tbn.(2), b. tbn., euph., tba.; timp., perc.(3), cb.
    SPS5 Wedding Dances
    9:00 Concert Band
    W2635 Sonata No. 1
    15:00 Flute, Piano
    W2615 Flute Sonata No. 2
    15:00 Flute, Piano
    MXE6 Jot!
    6:00 Mixed Ensemble
    Solo Piano
    P3312 Piano Variations
    7:00 Piano
    O5443 Qualities Of Light
    24:00 Piano
    Vocal / Choral
    VS4 The Antient Concert
    1:00:00 Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Baritone, Lyric Baritone
    O5460 Bandanna
    1:56:00 Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Horn, Trumpet, Tenor, Tuba, Contrabass, Timpani, Piano, Harp, Percussion, Mixed Chorus, Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Baritone
    VF13 Broken Pieces
    23:00 High Voice, Low Voice, Piano
    CM8626 Four Poems Of William Blake
    20529 Ghandi’s Children
    4:00 SA chorus; handbells
    VF3 Hagen Songbook
    Voice, Piano
    CM8894 I Had Rather
    CY3276 Love In A Life
    Voice, Piano
    CY2525 Muldoon Songs
    Voice, Piano

  • 21st-Century Song Cycles 21ST-CENTURY SONG CYCLES
    Naxos (8.559714); November 10, 2017
    Performer(s): Gilda Lyons, soprano, Laura Ward, piano
    Work(s): Phantoms of Myself
    Lenoriana LENORIANA
    Affetto Recordings (AF1501); September 25, 2015
    Performer(s): Elem Eley, baritone, J.J. Penna, piano
    Work(s): Larkin Songs
    Drifts and Shadows: American Song for the New Millenium DRIFTS AND SHADOWS: AMERICAN SONG FOR THE NEW MILLENIUM
    Albany Records (TROY1050); September 9, 2008
    Performer(s): Elem Eley, baritone, J.J. Penna, piano
    Work(s): Letting Go
    Bandanna BANDANNA
    Albany Records (TROY849-50); May 1, 2006
    Performer(s): UNLV Opera Theater Chorus, UNLV Wind Orchestra, Lesley DeGroot, James Demler, Paul Kreider, Mark Thomsen, Darynn Zimmer, Daron Hagen, conductor
    Work(s): Bandanna
    New American Song Cycles NEW AMERICAN SONG CYCLES
    Albany Records (TROY654); April 27, 2004
    Performer(s): Paul Sperry, tenor, Daron Hagen, piano
    Work(s): Figments
    Song Books SONG BOOKS
    Albany Records (TROY600); August 26, 2003
    Performer(s): Illinois State University Wind Symphony, Stephen Steele, conductor, John Koch, baritone
    Work(s): The Heart of a Stranger
    Vera of Las Vegas VERA OF LAS VEGAS
    CRI/New World Records (NWCR902); December 1, 2002
    Performer(s): Carolann Page, soprano, Charles Maxwell, voice, Paul Kreider, baritone, Patrick Jones, voice, University of Nevada Las Vegas Opera Theater Orchestra
    Work(s): Vera of Las Vegas
    American Tonal AMERICAN TONAL
    Albany Records (TROY324); March 2, 1999
    Performer(s): Jeanne Golan, piano
    Work(s): Qualities of Light

  • Bandanna (Act II)
    An Opera in Two Acts and a Prologue
    Bandanna (Prologue & Act I)
    An Opera in Two Acts and a Prologue
    Bandanna Overture
    for Band
    Vera of Las Vegas
    A Nightmare Cabaret Opera in One Act