Daniel Stephen Johnson was born in the desert and learned to play the violin. After studying viola and English at the University of Southern California, he wrote fiction at Columbia University. Then he moved to Connecticut, where he worked at a record shop and wrote about music, literature and comedy for the New Haven Advocate and the Believer. Now he lives in Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, and works as a sheet music salesman in Queens. Follow Daniel on Twitter at @linernotesdanny.
He's written notes for programs by musicians like Daníel Bjarnason, Nico Muhly and Gidon Kremer, for magazines including Opera News and Parterre Box, and of course for his own website, danielstephenjohnson.com.
"Steel Hammer," the new album by Bang on a Can co-founder Julia Wolfe, features a musical retelling of that great American tall tale of John Henry. Stream the album in full all this week.
Simon Smith's new collection of Alfred Schnittke's complete piano music offers a harrowing biographical portrait of the composer. Stream the entire album all this week.
Kronos Quartet's new 40th anniversary compilation, "A Thousand Thoughts," takes a well-earned victory lap by bringing together a generous helping of their globe-trotting musical excursions.
Steven Mackey's new piano concerto for Orli Shaham is an easy fit with the music of John Adams on the new album "American Grace" from Canary Classics. Stream the entire album in full all this week.
Listening to "Chambers," the inaugural release from both the Spektral Quartet and their fellow Chicagoans, one could hardly imagine a more promising debut. Stream the full album all this week.
Polish composer and film arranger Wojciech Kilar wrote concert music that merits a closer listen. A new album collects three of works for chorus and orchestra from the 1980s. Stream it on Q2 Music.
For "American Vernacular," pianist Nicholas Phillips commissioned ten composers to each to write a piece inspired by their respective experiences of America. Stream the album all this week.
Mark-Anthony Turnage's music is best known for its provocative clashes. But a new recording by the London Symphony Orchestra may surprise listeners with its emotional directness. Stream the album all this week.
Works on composer Mathew Rosenblum's newest album "Möbius Loop" offer both a mind-bending illusion and an elegant feat of mathematics. Stream the entire album all this week.
A new album by Peter Oundjian and the Scottish National Symphony offers three selections from Adams for large orchestra in one convenient dose. Stream the recording in full all this week.
On its latest recording, "Ó Riada Re-imagined," the Louth Contemporary Music Society from Ireland has asked Uzbek composer Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky to create a new work out of an Irish mass. Stream the album in full all this week.
The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma has released a new collection of commissioned works by John Zorn, Vijay Iyer, Collin Jacobsen and others. Stream it all this week.
25 years, 25 composers: the New York Virtuoso Singers are celebrating a quarter century of music-making by commissioning and performing works by over two dozen of today's most celebrated composers. Stream the complete album this week only.
The Boston Modern Orchestra Project presents Michael Gandolfi's three new concertos for bassoon, alto saxophone and bass trombone on their latest recording. Stream it all this week.
A post-Soviet master on par with Schnittke and Pärt, Sofia Gubaidulina constructs music with great sacred symbols in mind. Stream bassist Daniele Roccato's new album of her work all this week.
"Concert of the Sixth Sun" is the latest meeting between Philip Glass and musicians from outside the Western classical tradition and easily the most unusual collaboration. Stream it in full all this week.
A new album devoted entirely to Pulitzer Prize-winner Kevin Puts's music pairs a duo of a cappella choral pieces with the world premiere recording of his Fourth Symphony.
"Evensong," the full-length debut recording by the New York composer and multi-instrumentalist Caleb Burhans spans psalm settings and rock-influenced works. Stream it all this week.
Symphonic master Einojuhani Rautavaara would seem to be sacrificing a great deal by restricting himself to voices alone, but a new collection of his choral works is a satisfying listen. Stream the full album this week.
Seven Tibetan songs by exiled chanteuse Yungchen Lhamo, in arrangements by Russian composer Anton Batagov, are collected on a "Tayatha." Stream the album in full this week only.