Biography

Conductor DANIEL ABRAHAM is passionate about the performance and practice of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century music. For 20 years he served as the conductor and artistic director of The Bach Sinfonia. His performances have garnered praise from many noteworthy sources including Gramophone, The Washington Post, Choral Journal, BBC Magazine, Fanfare, Diapason, BBC Radio 3, American Record Review, and Early Music America. The late Joseph McLellan once remarked that as a conductor and musicologist “Abraham blends those skills marvelously in programs that combine learning with enjoyment in ideal proportions.” The Washington Post has praised his performances as having “uncommon precision and exuberant vitality,” being “bright, energetic, and lovingly shaped” and showing “keen insight and coherence.” As a recognized specialist in early music, period-instrument performance, Daniel Abraham is much sought-after for his expertise in the field as well as in the broad orchestral and choral-orchestral scene. He imbues performances with detailed scholarship while allowing the listener to experience dramatic and exciting results. His exhilarating performances, outstanding reviews, and impressive discography speak to his important position in the American early-music scene.

Sought after as a guest conductor, Daniel Abraham’s performances have been nationally broadcast regularly on NPR’s Performance Today, Sunday Baroque and What's Great in Sacred Music. Recent guest appearances include concerts with the Trinity Baroque Orchestra & Trinity Chorus (New York), with the Governor of Vladimir Symphony Orchestra (Vladimir, Russian Federation), Chamber Orchestra of the Orpheus Musical Theatre (Perm, Russian Federation) and the B-A-C-H Chamber Orchestra (Yekaterinburg, Russian Federation). He has prepared choruses for national television broadcast including the Kennedy Center Honors Gala (PBS) and Christmas in Washington (TNT) and appeared on the nationally syndicated PBS series History Detectives during its initial season. With various ensembles he has presented concerts abroad in Canada, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Romania, Russia, and Egypt. He is a sought-after clinician who has given master classes and clinics throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. This summer (2017) he will tour Poland with American University's Chamber Singers and is expect to appear as guest conductor with several leading early-music ensembles.

With his insight and dedication as both conductor and practitioner of early music, he has often focused his attention towards seeking out works that previously have been unknown to present-day audiences. To that end, Abraham has been responsible for contemporary premieres including the first modern
, North American and regional premieres performance by composers including Johann Sebastian Bach, other members of the Bach family, George Frideric Handel, Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber, Marie Emanuel Bayon-Louis, J.C. Altnickol, J.D. Zelenka, and many others.and others with many of the premieres performed using performance materials Abraham edited from primary manuscript sources. He has conducted performances before two National Meeting of the American Musicological Society and  appearances have included concerts at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Concert Hall of the Music Center at Strathmore, Trinity Wall Street, the National Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, and the The National Women’s Museum of the Arts. He has prepared choruses for the Kennedy Center Honors Gala (PBS) and the national broadcast of Christmas in Washington (TNT).

His commercial recordings with the Bach Sinfonia can be heard on the Dorian and Sono Luminus labels. Abraham discography includes critically acclaimed recordings of Handel’s Alexander’s Feast, Bach’s rediscovered Alles mit Gott und nichts ohn’ ihn, the modern premiere of Biber's Stabat Mater, psalms by Rossi and Carissimi’s Historia di Jephte [on Passion and Lament: Choral Masterworks of the 17th Century], the complete motets of J. S. Bach, the complete works for lute and ensemble by Vivaldi with Grammy nominee Ronn McFarlane [The Art of Vivaldi’s Lute], and the Zelenka: The Capriccios.

Abraham holds advanced degrees in conducting and musicology from the University of Maryland where he was a student of Paul Traver. He was a conducting fellow under the tutelage of renowned Bach interpreter Helmuth Rilling at the 1997 Oregon Bach Festival and has undertaken additional studies with William Weinart (Eastman School of Music), David Hoose (Boston University), and Frieder Bernius (
Kammerchor Stuttgart)

Abraham's scholarly and pedagogical publications have appeared in Choral Journal, Musicological Australia, and in Chorus America's Research Memorandum Series. His many editions of 17th and 18th century music have been used in performance around the globe. Nominated for numerous Washington Area Music Association WAMMIE as Best Classical Conductor/Director, and for Best Classical Recording, Abraham and the Bach Sinfonia won second prize in the 2011 American Prize Competition for Professional Choral Performance. In addition to his long-term work in early music, Abraham is Professor of Music at American University, where he serves as the Chair of the Department of Performing Arts and Director of Choral Activities.