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, danielstephenjohnson.com.
Daniel Stephen Johnson appears in the following:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Monday, January 05, 2015
"Prayers Remain Forever," a new album of music by composer Martin Bresnick, finds inspiration from masters of the grotesque. Stream the entire album all this week.
Monday, December 01, 2014
The Christmas season and New York Polyphony, a four-man choir specializing in sacred music, are a match made in heaven. The ensemble's new album spans over five centuries of song.
Monday, November 24, 2014
Philip Glass's complete set of 20 Etudes are released on this disc for the first time, recorded by Maki Namekawa for the composer's Orange Mountain Music label. Stream the album now.
Monday, November 03, 2014
Erkki-Sven Tüür has gained a reputation as one of Estonia's most exciting and fascinating composers. His new album illustrates that he also knows how to cut loose... and rock.
Monday, September 15, 2014
The most surprising thing about the debut of VIA Records, the label whose arrival is heralded by the release of Anna Clyne's "The Violin," is that it didn't happen long ago.
Monday, September 08, 2014
Issued on Cincinnati Symphony's own label, "Hallowed Ground" finds unexpected connections between David Lang's hard, bitter pieces and those by Aaron Copland and Nico Muhly.
Monday, August 25, 2014
Fifth House Ensemble's new album "Excelsior" builds itself up gradually from the luminous energy of Alex Shapiro's "Perpetual Spark" to Caleb Burhans's half-hour title track.
Monday, August 11, 2014
Pianist Tara Kamangar's "East of Melancholy" is a luxuriously lovely recital of virtuoso piano music spanning musical traditions from Russia to Iran. Stream the entire album.
Monday, July 21, 2014
Richard Reed Parry, a composer and member of the rock band Arcade Fire, writes classical compositions based the actual pulse of the performers themselves. Stream his "Music for Heart and Breath" all this week.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
The inaugural New York Philharmonic Biennial, a string of contemporary music performances held around the city, proved to be—while void of risk—an enjoyable event. Check out Daniel Stephen Johnson's roundup of the concerts.
Monday, June 16, 2014
Per Nørgård's Eighth Symphony shows how the young composer has evolved into a mature, unmistakably contemporary artist. Stream the entire album all this week.
Monday, June 09, 2014
Pianist Alexander Melnikov's rendition of Dmitri Shostakovich's 24 Preludes & Fugues, Op. 87, just reissued in a recent Harmonia Mundi recording, present the music of Shostakovich at its most agreeable. Stream the entire album all this week.