July 21, 2024

DAN WELCHER, Brief Biographical Sketch

In 2012, the American Academy of Arts and Letters presented to Dan Welcher an Arts and Letters Award in Music. The citation reads, in part, “As intense as it is elegant, Dan Welcher's music takes his listeners on a surprising yet inevitable path….Every work in his wide-ranging catalogue is written with the strongest musical signature”. That catalogue now numbers well over 140 works in every conceivable genre, including three operas, seven concertos, six symphonies; plus vocal literature, piano solos, and various kinds of chamber music. Born in 1948 in Rochester, New York, Dan Welcher is now one of the most-played composers of his generation.

Dan Welcher has won numerous awards and prizes from institutions such as the American Academy of Arts and Letters, The Guggenheim Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Reader's Digest/Lila Wallace foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Meet The Composer, The MacDowell Colony, The Camargo Foundation, The Corporation at Yaddo, The Atlantic Center for the Arts, the American Music Center, and ASCAP. From 1990 to 1993, he was Composer in Residence with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra (Donald Johanos, Music Director). His orchestral music has been performed by more than sixty orchestras, including the BBC Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, and the Dallas Symphony. His ballet for two antiphonal string quartets, MUSEON POLEMOS, was premiered by the Miró String Quartet and the Shanghai String Quartet in 2012. His Sixth Symphony ("Three Places in the East"), commissioned by a consortium of leading conservatories and music schools, was premiered in the fall of 2017; and his third opera THE YELLOW WALLPAPER (for which he also wrote the libretto, after Charlotte Perkins Gilman's novella of the same name) was premiered in December of 2018.

A much sought-after speaker who is known for making contemporary music intelligible to lay listeners, Welcher hosted a weekly radio program called "Knowing The Score" on KMFA-FM in Austin from 1999 to 2009. This program won the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for Excellence in Classical Broadcasting. He hosted the weekly program “From The Butler School of Music” on  KMFA-FM in Austin from 2011 to 2019.  Dan Welcher held the Lee Hage Jamail Regents Professorship in Fine Arts at the Butler School of Music (The University of Texas at Austin), and directed the New Music Ensemble, until his retirement in 2019.

For further information about Dan Welcher, a fuller biography is available in the Press Kit on the Contacts tab.