Daniel Stephen Johnson

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.

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,

Daniel Stephen Johnson appears in the following:

John Luther Adams and Wilco's Glenn Kotche in Epic, Percussive 'Ilimaq'

Monday, November 02, 2015

John Luther Adams's "Ilimaq" is an immersive musical journey for the listener, as well as a spectacular vehicle for a pivotal talent from the world of rock, Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche.

Comments [1]

Avalon String Quartet Satisfies on Album of Golijov, Garrop, Debussy and Britten

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Avalon Quartet brings an elegant touch to works by Osvaldo Golijov, Stacy Garrop, Britten and Debussy on their new release. Listen to the full album all this week.


Jodie Landau and wild Up's Luxurious Maiden Voyage in 'You of All Things'

Monday, October 05, 2015

Jodie Landau and wild Up's "You of All Things," is radiantly lovely in every detail, but perhaps the loveliest of all is Landau's astonishing vocals. Stream the album all week.


Julia Wolfe's Pulitzer Prize-Winning 'Anthracite Fields' is a Hard-Rocking Affair

Monday, September 28, 2015

Julia Wolfe has released Anthracite Fields – the oratorio that won her the Pulitzer Prize – featuring the Choir of Trinity Wall Street and amplified sextet the Bang on a Can All-Stars


Arithmetical Elegance and Philip Glass in Eighth Blackbird's 'Filament'

Monday, September 07, 2015

Chicago-based ensemble eighth blackbird's meticulous programming is seldom as intensely focused as it is on their latest album, "Filament." Stream the complete album all week. 

Comments [1]

Sarah Kirkland Snider's 'Unremembered' Songs of Youth and Memory

Monday, August 31, 2015

Composer Sarah Kirkland Snider teams up with vocalist Shara Worden, Padma Newsome and D.M. Stith on her latest album.


Philip Glass Blasts Past Beethoven with Fireworks of 10th Symphony

Monday, July 27, 2015

Philip Glass's working relationship with conductor Dennis Russell Davies brings him back to symphonic form again and again, and he's now written more than Beethoven. Hear #10 all week.

Comments [13]

Following Langston Hughes's Musical Treasure Map, 'Ask Your Mama'

Monday, July 06, 2015

How appropriate that the release date of Laura Karpman's new record should arrive right around the birthday of the U.S.: a setting of Langston Hughes's cycle of poems "Ask Your Mama."


Lisa Bielawa's Knack for Lyricism Revealed in 'Lay of the Love'

Monday, June 29, 2015

Lisa Bielawa is a force to be reckoned with in the new music world - her broadmindedness has served her well as a performer, presenter and composer. Stream her art song album all week.


Terry Riley's Eclecticism in Four-Hand Piano Arrangements

Monday, June 22, 2015

Terry Riley celebrates his 80th birthday this week, offering the ZOFO piano duo the perfect opportunity to explore new arrangements from his rich and eclectic oeuvre.


NOW Ensemble Blends Upbeat Lyricism and Heady Abstraction in 'Dreamfall'

Monday, June 01, 2015

NOW Ensemble emerged a decade ago as standard bearers, of a sort, for the new kids of new music. Stream their latest anthology of new works, "Dreamfall," all week. 

Comments [1]

Bryce Dessner's Mesmerizing Inventions for So Percussion

Monday, May 25, 2015

When composer and rock guitarist Bryce Dessner of the National was asked to write music for So Percussion, he didn't just create a new piece of music. He invented a new instrument.


Steve Reich's Masterful Gateway Drug in Assured New Recording

Monday, May 04, 2015

Steve Reich composed "Music for 18 Musicians" some 40 years ago, but it still remains the perfect gateway drug for Reich's music. A new recording by Ensemble Signal shows why.

Comments [8]

Martin Scherzinger's Alternative Calculus in 'African Math'

Monday, April 20, 2015

Composer Martin Scherzinger's new record is an enlightened take on the traditional music of Africa – mostly because his music recognizes that it is not African music. Listen all week.


Clarinetist Martin Fröst Displays a Dancer's Virtuosity in 'Nordic Concertos'

Monday, March 30, 2015

The clarinet is lucky to have Martin Fröst, a musical showman who has produced handsome recordings of works new and old. Stream his latest album "Nordic Concertos" all week.

Comments [3]

Kronos Quartet and Tanya Tagaq Tap Canadian Cool in 'Tundra Songs'

Monday, March 16, 2015

Thanks be to Björk: it was her collaboration with Tanya Tagaq that brought the singer from Nunavut, Canada the much-deserved attention of a worldwide musical audience. 


Benjamin Hochman Reinvigorates a Familiar Theme in 'Variations'

Monday, March 09, 2015

The composers on "Variations," pianist Benjamin Hochman's new disc on the Avie label, are ideally suited to the form of Theme and Variations. Stream the album in full. 


Jukka Linkola and Ville Matvejeff Draw Inspiration from Fairy Tales, Heavy Metal Heroics

Monday, March 02, 2015

A new release features two relative unknowns in Finnish contemporary music: Jukka Linkola and Ville Matvejeff. Hear why their music deserves broader recognition.

Comments [1]

'Who the Hell is Allan Pettersson?' Told Through Score and Film

Monday, February 09, 2015

Allan Pettersson (1911-1980), born to a working-class family, was a Swedish composer whose violin playing pulled him up from a childhood straight out of a Roald Dahl novel.

Comments [4]

Kaija Saariaho's Masterful Chamber Music Shines on a Larger Scale

Monday, January 26, 2015

Utterly original and new, the music of Kaija Saariaho is nevertheless recognizable as a successor to an old French tradition of rich lyricism and colorful orchestration.