Composer, concert presenter, and music journalist
Dan Visconti (b. 1982) composes concert music infused with the directness of expression and maverick spirit of the American vernacular. His compositions often explore the rough timbres, propulsive rhythms, and improvisational energy characteristic of jazz, bluegrass, and rock—elements that tend to collide in unexpected ways with Visconti’s experience as a classically-trained violinist, resulting in a growing body of music the Plain Dealer describes as “both mature and youthful, bristling with exhilarating musical ideas and a powerfully crafted lyricism.”
Upcoming projects include ANDY, an experimental "pop opera" based on the work of iconic artist Andy Warhol commissioned by Opera Philadelphia and Bearded Ladies Cabaret;Beatbox, a new concerto for the crossover string quintet Sybarite5 and a consortium of US orchestras; a new showpiece for Venezuelan piano virtuoso Gabriela Martinez; and Living Language, a concerto for amplified guitar and orchestra featuring acclaimed GRAMMY-winning soloist Jason Vieaux.
Recent concert seasons have showcased several Visconti premieres, including a work commissioned by the Jupiter Quartet for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s international string quartet series; a work featuring experimental video commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra for premiere at Zankel Hall; and a work for soprano Lucy Shelton and the Da Capo Chamber Players for premiere at Weill Recital Hall. Other commissions have come from the Kronos Quartet, the Berlin Philharmonic Scharoun Ensemble, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Albany Symphony, the Annapolis Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, the New York Youth Symphony, the Gryphon and Triple Helix piano trios, the Corigliano Quartet, the Janaki String Trio, and Volti chamber choir.
Visconti’s music continues to receive performances by some of the top interpreters of contemporary music, including eighth blackbird, the 21st Century Consort at the Smithsonian, Sybarite5, the Locrian Chamber Players, and the JACK, Aeolus, Eclipse, Kontras, Jasper, Wasmuth, and Carpe Diem string quartets, at venues including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, London’s Barbican Theatre, and the Sydney Opera House. In recent seasons the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the American Composers Orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, the Spokane Symphony, and the South Carolina Philharmonic have also given his orchestral works repeated hearings. Recordings of Visconti’s music are available from Bridge Records, Naxos, MSR, Sono Lumininus, and Fleur de Son Classics.
His compositions have been honored with the Rome Prize and Berlin Prize fellowships, the Bearns Prize from Columbia University, the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Performing Arts, the Barlow Prize, and the Cleveland Arts Prize; awards from BMI and ASCAP, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Society of Composers, and the Naumburg Foundation; and grants from the Fromm Foundation, Meet the Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Koussevitzky Foundation, and Chamber Music America. He has also been the recipient of artist fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Copland House, the Lucas Artists Program at Villa Montalvo, and the Virginia Commission for the Arts.
Visconti recently completed a multi-year residency with opera companies including Seattle Opera, Opera Theatre St. Louis, New York City Opera, the Glimmerglass Festival, and the Metropolitan Opera as recipient of the Douglas Moore Fellowship in American Opera. In 2013 he served as composer-in-residence at the soundSCAPE festival in the Italian Alps, as well as composer-in-residence of Chicago’s Music in the Loft series. Most recently, Visconti has been appointed Young American Composer-in-Residence for the California Symphony from 2014-2017, where he will compose and record three new works with the orchestra and maestro Donato Cabrera.
Visconti studied composition at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Yale School of Music, primarily with Margaret Brouwer, Aaron Jay Kernis, Ezra Laderman, and Zhou Long. As an educator his commitment to engaging new audiences often involves unconventional venues and approaches; past projects have included interactive videoconferencing presentations on the social history of music and civil rights in America as well as appearances at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Visconti’s music was recently performed in Pakistan at concerts presented by Cultures in Harmony, an outreach organization promoting cross-cultural communication through music.
Visconti’s online journal (hosted by Dartmouth's Hopkins Center for the Arts) detailed the compositional process in a multimedia experience, sharing images and streaming audio of works-in-progress including a new work commissioned through the Kronos Quartet’s Under 30 Project. He currently writes for the Huffington Post, and since 2008 he has written a weekly column for NewMusicBox, the web magazine of the American Music Center. His articles have also appeared in ArtsJournal and Symphony Magazine. For his ongoing initiatives innovating concert experiences that address social issues through music, Visconti has been awarded a 2014 TED Fellowship and delivered a TED talk at the 30th Anniversary TED Conference in Vancouver.
Visconti serves as Director of Artistic Programming at Chicago’s Fifth House Ensemble, a concert organization that reaches new audiences with an emphasis on civic outreach, educational programming, and collaborative projects with other artists. He is also composer-in-residence at the Fresh Inc Festival, where he works with young entrepreneurs in building musical careers in line with their own unique vision and values.