Conductor DANIEL ABRAHAM is passionate about the performance and practice of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century music. For twenty-one seasons 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 critic 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 specialist in early music performance, Abraham is 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 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. He has made 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). As a conductor and scholar, Abraham has often sought out works previously unknown to present-day audiences and has been responsible for numerous world, North American, and regional early-music modern premieres with many performances using materials he has edited from archival manuscript sources. Abraham has conducted performances before two National Meetings of the American Musicological Society, has been broadcast nationally on NPR’s Performance Today, Great Sacred Music, and Sunday Baroque, and has appeared at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Music Center at Strathmore, the National Women’s Museum of the Arts, the National Portrait Gallery, the Cosmos Club, and many other venues in the eastern United States. Guest conducting appearances include concerts with the Trinity Wall Street Baroque Orchestra and Trinity Chorus (New York), as conductor of the Massachusetts Northwestern All-State Chorus, and internationally with various university and professional ensembles in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, and in Egypt where he was Visiting Distinguished Professor of the Arts. In addition to his work in early music, he is a champion of new composition particularly of American and Canadian choral composers.
Abraham has prepared choruses for national television broadcast including the Kennedy Center Honors and Christmas in Washington as well as notable conductors including Lenard Slatkin, Michael Tilson Thomas, Leon Botstein and with artists including Ray Charles, Andrea Bocelli, and Kristin Chenoweth. As a scholar, Abraham has presented papers before the American Musicological Society and at national and regional meetings of the American Choral Director Association.appeared on the nationally syndicated PBS series History Detectives during its initial season.
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, Sono Luminus, and Chandos 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.
In addition to his six commercial audio recordings on the Dorian and Sonoluminus labels, his recent scholarly work includes: the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) funded multidisciplinary immersive audio project “Hearing Bach’s Acoustic” with audio technologist Braxton Boren, interactive-media designer Yana Sakellion, and audio engineer Rogerio Naressi; a critical edition of choral music by Heinrich Biber for Carus Verlag; and co-editing with Alicia Kopfstein-Penk and Andrew Weaver the volume Leonard Bernstein and Washington, DC: Works, Politics, and Performance for Eastman Studies in Music (University of Rochester Press). His next commercial recording, ALTISSIMA, with baroque trumpet virtuoso Josh Cohen, will be released in January 2023 on the Chandos label. Published in Choral Journal, editorial work for The Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Edition (OUP), and Cambridge University Press. Past grant panelist for the Maryland State Arts Council, DC Commission on the Arts, and the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery Country (MD). Past President of the MD/DC State Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association.
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 StuttgartAbraham is a sought-after clinician, adjudicator, and festival ensemble conductor.