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B i o g r a p h y

Grammy-Award winning composer Richard Danielpour has established himself as one of the most gifted and sought-after composers of his generation. His music has attracted an international and illustrious array of champions, and, as a devoted mentor and educator, he has also had a significant impact on the younger generation of composers over the past 30 years. His list of commissions include some of the most celebrated artists of our day including Yo-Yo Ma, Jessye Norman, Susan Graham, Dawn Upshaw, Emanuel Ax, Gil Shaham, Frederica von Stade, Thomas Hampson, Gary Graffman, Anthony McGill, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, the Guarneri and Emerson String Quartets, the New York City, Pacific Northwest and Nashville Ballets, and institutions such as the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Maryinsky Orchestra, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and many more. With Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, Danielpour created Margaret Garner, his first opera, which premiered in 2005 and had a second production with New York City Opera. He has received two awards from the American Academy and Institute of Arts & Letters, including a Lifetime Achievement Award, a Guggenheim Award, the Bearns Prize from Columbia University, two Rockefeller Foundation Fellowships, and The Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin. He served on the composition faculty of Manhattan School of Music from 1993 to 2017. In 2017, Danielpour relocated to Los Angeles where he accepted the position of Professor of Music at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. He is also a member of the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music where he has taught since 1997.


In 2021, Danielpour was commissioned by Orchestra Della Toscana to write a piece for the Dante anniversary, making him the first American composer in nearly 40 years to be commissioned by a major Italian Orchestra. That same year, clarinetist Anthony McGill premiered Danielpour’s Four Angels with the Catalyst Quartet. The work was commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, as part of a celebration of Black Lives Mattering in America. In September, he was given a lifetime achievement award from the Cremona Music Festival and later that Fall was awarded the Covel Chair from UCLA to support the composition and production of his new two act opera The Grand Hotel Tartarus, making him only the second recipient of this coveted award.


Upcoming premieres in 2023-24 include The Unhealed Wound, a cantata composed for baritone Eric Owens and mezzo-soprano Amanda Lynn Bottoms. This work, written in collaboration with Rita Dove, was commissioned by Skidmore College as part of a McCormick Residency in September 2023. In October 2023, the ROCO Chamber Orchestra in Houston will premiere the first of two newly commissioned works, Breaking the Veil, which was written as a tribute to the heroic women of Iran. ROCO will also premiere a second commissioned work, Triptych, which is a three-movement symphony based on The Divine Comedy of Dante. In February 2024, The Golden Bridge Chorus, conducted by Suzie Digby, will premiere Danielpour’s Agnus Dei in Los Angeles. On May 17, 2024, Danielpour’s two act opera The Grand Hotel Tartarus will receive its world premiere at the Freud Theater in Los Angeles.


Danielpour is one of the most recorded composers of his generation; many of his recordings can be found on the Naxos of America and Sony Classical labels. Danielpour's music is published by Lean Kat Music and Associated Music Publishers. For more information about Richard Danielpour, please visit his website at:

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