Daniel Abraham, conductor, is associate professor of Music and director of choral activities in the Department of Performing Arts at American University. He has garnered praise for his performances from many noteworthy sources, including Gramophone, The Washington Post, Choral Journal, BBC Magazine, Fanfare, BBC Radio 3, American Record Review, and Early Music America. The late critic Joseph McLellan once remarked that as a conductor and musicologist, “Abraham blends those skills marvelously in programs that combine learning with enjoyment in ideal proportions.” The Washington Post has praised his performances as having “uncommon precision and exuberant vitality,” being “bright, energetic, and lovingly shaped,” and showing “keen insight and coherence.” As a conductor and scholar, he has often sought out works previously unknown to present-day audiences and has been responsible for numerous world, North American, and regional early-music premieres with many performances using materials edited by Abraham from primary manuscript sources. He has conducted performances before two National Meeting of the American Musicological Society, has been broadcast nationally on NPR’s Performance Today and Sunday Baroque, and has appeared at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Music Center at Strathmore, The National Women’s Museum of the Arts, and many other major venues in the eastern United States. He has prepared choruses for national television broadcast including the Kennedy Center Honors Gala and Christmas in Washington and appeared on the nationally syndicated PBS series History Detectives during its initial season. With various ensembles he has presented concerts abroad in Canada, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Romania, and Egypt. He is a sought-after clinician who has given master classes and clinics throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.
Abraham’s five commercial recordings for Dorian/Sono Luminus label have received outstanding reviews from many of the best sources including BBC Magazine who gave his recording Passion and Lament (2009) its highest rating (“top-drawer choral precision, seductive blend, and stylistic sensitivity. . . impeccably-blended vocal warmth shaped by Abraham with a superb feeling for line and gesture.”) His recording of the Motets of J. S. Bach (2010) has received particularly superb reviews from Fanfare (“a proper challenge, met with distinction . . . Abraham’s performances are finely detailed, blissfully free of eccentricities, and sung beautifully and confidently.”), American Record Guide (“offer[s] everything these daunting works require: remarkable vocal facility and flexibility, spot-on accuracy, spiritual intensity and stylistic sensitivity—all with exemplary balance and exceptional warmth of tone.”), and Early Music America (“There is a beautiful uniformity of purpose in this recording; every person in the ensemble is of one musical mind, executing turns of phrase, dynamic contrasts, cadential tension, and relaxation with an almost surreal single-minded approach, allowing the music to unfold like some grand Bach-ian teleology. There simply is no down side to anything on the recording, no moments to nitpick about, no choices to regret.”)
Abraham holds advanced degrees in conducting and musicology from the University of Maryland. He was a conducting fellow under the tutelage of renowned Bach interpreter Helmuth Rilling at the 1997 Oregon Bach Festival. His courses at American University have ranged from The Music of Bach, Handel & the Late Baroque to A History of Rock-n-Roll in addition to performance-based choral and orchestral ensembles.
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