Richard Danielpour
Professor, Composition

Co-Area Head, Composition

Grammy-Award winning composer Richard Danielpour “is an outstanding composer for any time, one who knows how to communicate deep, important emotions through simple, direct means that nevertheless do not compromise” (New York Daily News). His distinctive American musical voice possesses large and romantic gestures, and is brilliantly orchestrated, intensely expressive, and rhythmically vibrant. His work has attracted an illustrious array of champions; and, as a devoted mentor and educator, he has also had a significant impact on a younger generation of composers. Danielpour’s first opera Margaret Garner — written with Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison — took critics and audiences by storm with sold-out houses in its 2005 premiere by the co-commissioning opera companies of Detroit, Cincinnati, and Philadelphia. In 2007, New York City Opera opened its season with an entirely new production.

Much in demand across the globe, Danielpour has received such prestigious honors as the: the American Academy of Arts & Letters’ Lifetime Achievement Award and Charles Ives Fellowship; the Guggenheim Fellowship; The Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin; two Rockefeller Foundation grants; the Bearns Prize from Columbia University, and fellowships and residencies from the The Boglaisco Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Copland House, and the American Academy in Rome. He has also enjoyed guest residences at Princeton University (1996 & 2003), Berklee College (Boston); a McCormack Residency at Skidmore College, and a specially created interdisciplinary lectureship at Northwestern University surrounding the Chicago premiere of Margaret Garner.

Danielpour’s work has been performed throughout the world, and his commissions read like a Who’s Who of the world’s leading musical institutions and artists. He has written for the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, American Composers Orchestra, and Seattle, Pittsburgh, Pacific, National, Atlanta and Baltimore Symphonies, among many others. His music has also been championed by Yo-Yo Ma, Jessye Norman, Gil Shaham, Sarah Chang, Dawn Upshaw, Emanuel Ax, Frederica von Stade, Thomas Hampson, Gary Graffman, Anthony McGill, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, the Guarneri, Emerson, Ying, and American String Quartets, Music from Copland House and conductors Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Masur, Charles Dutoit, David Zinman, Zdenek Macal, Carl St. Clair, Giancarlo Guerrero, and Leonard Slatkin. Danielpour has also composed two major scores for the New York City and Pacific Northwest Ballets. European performances include Scottish Chamber, Frankfurt, Maryinsky Orchestras, Berlin and Cologne Symphonies, Orchestra de Lyon and Orchestra National de France.

Danielpour is one of the most recorded composers of his generation and became only the third composer –after Stravinsky and Copland– to be signed to an exclusive recording contract by Sony Classical. Since then, Sony released several Danielpour recordings, including the Cello Concerto, recorded by Yo-Yo Ma and the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by David Zinman, and the Grammy-nominated Concerto for Orchestra (coupled with Anima Mundi), recorded by Zinman and the Pittsburgh Symphony. Other recordings include An American Requiem for chorus and orchestra on Reference Recordings, and A Child’s Reliquary with the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio and In The Arms Of The Beloved, written for and recorded by Jamie Laredo and Sharon Robinson, with the Iris Chamber Orchestra and Michael Stern conducting on Arabesque Recordings.

Since 2010, Danielpour’s music has been recorded extensively by Naxos of America. In 2017, his recording with the Nashville Symphony with Giancarlo Guerrero and Thomas Hampson of Songs of Solitude was nominated for 2 Grammy awards, including Best Contemporary Classical Composition.

Danielpour is an active educator and believes deeply in the nurturing of young musicians. He served on the composition faculty of Manhattan School of Music from 1993-2017 and has been on the composition faculty of The Curtis Institute of Music since 1997. In 2017, he accepted a tenured position in composition at UCLA’s Herbt Albert School of Music where he now teaches. Danielpour has served as Composer in Residence with the Seattle Symphony (1991-92), the Pacific Symphony (1998-2001), and the Pittsburgh Symphony (2009-10).

In February 2018, A Simple Prayer was premiered by Chamber Orchestra First Editions in Philadelphia and in March, pianist Sara Daneshpour premiered Danielpour’s Carnival of the Ancients with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and music director Xian Zhang.

In July of 2018, Danielpour’s The Passion on Yeshua, a 100 minute passion oratorio in Hebrew and English, commissioned by the Oregon Bach Festival, the Buffalo Philharmonic, and the SDG Foundation, was premiered at the Oregon Bach Festival with JoAnn Faletta conducting. The work will also be performed in December at Royce Hall in Los Angeles with the UCLA Philharmonia and Chorus led by music director Neal Stulberg and choral director James Bass. Finally, in April 2019, JoAnn Faletta will lead her Buffalo Philharmonic in performances of The Passion of Yeshua, where it will be recorded by Naxos. In August, Danielpour’s String Quartet No. 8 was premiered by the DaPonte String Quartet in Portland, ME.

Born in New York City on January 28, 1956, Danielpour studied at the New England Conservatory and The Juilliard School with Vincent Persichetti and Peter Mennin. In 1986, he received his DMA from Juilliard. From 1988 until 1990, Danielpour studied composition with Leonard Bernstein. He also trained as a pianist with Lorin Hollander, Veronica Jochum, and Gabriel Chodos.

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.

GRAMMY Nominations at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music
The 60th GRAMMY Award nominations, announced recently by the Recording Academy, include a handful of UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music faculty, artists-in-residence, staff or alumni, among them Richard Danielpour,
Department of Music to Welcome New Faculty in Fall 2017
  The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music is delighted to announce that three exceptional artists have accepted the offer of an appointment in the Department of Music: Denis Bouriakov,
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