Daron Hagen in summer 2016. (Photo: Neil Erickson)

ABOUT

Daron Hagen (b. 1961) is an American composer and sought-after collaborator whose dazzlingly broad stylistic range embraces everything from lush romanticism to abstract electro-acoustic soundscapes. Along with numerous other accolades, including the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Friedheim Prize, the American Academy of Arts and Letters cited in 2014 his “outstanding achievement," acknowledging with an Academy Award "a composer who has arrived at his own voice."

The recipient of commissions from the New York Philharmonic, Seattle Opera, Philadelphia Orchestra, and others, 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, and 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 has served as artistic director of the Seasons Music Festival, and as president of the Lotte Lehmann Foundation.  

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 Conservatory, New York University, and the Princeton Atelier, among others, before turning his attention solely to fulfilling commissions. 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 Atticus and Seamus.

Read a year-by-year timeline here, and an in-depth biography here.