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Daniel Asia
Daniel Asia is a composer and professor at the University of Arizona. Formerly Composer-In-Residence with the Phoenix Symphony, and recipient of a Music Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, he has been writing or making music for more than 40 years. For more information about him and his music go to His music may be sampled on YouTube, and found on Summit Records and New World Records.

Entries by Daniel Asia

Music I (Mostly) Hold Dear: Ned Rorem

(0) Comments | Posted May 27, 2016 | 12:48 AM

Ned Rorem is one of our most distinguished composers. In his long life of ninety-three years he has won most of the awards to be won, including a Pulitzer Prize. He has written many songs and states that everything he writes is, at its essence, vocal. His life has been...

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Steinbeck, Sontag, and Boulez

(0) Comments | Posted March 30, 2016 | 4:22 PM

For anyone who follows the Wall Street Journal's Terry Teachout's 'dramatic' wanderings throughout America, it is known that theatre is thriving throughout this land. This is certainly true in Tucson, AZ.

The Arizona Theatre Company has recently put on a compelling run of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. George, played...

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Abraham and Isaac 2015

(0) Comments | Posted October 26, 2015 | 8:53 AM

In the Fall of 2013 I wrote my first posting for the Huffington Post. It happened as a result of serendipity, as my daughter's best friend was dating a then young Huffington Post editor. When I mentioned to him the talk I was giving around the country, Breath in a...

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Sacred Music: The Holy Minimalists and James Primosch

(0) Comments | Posted August 26, 2015 | 9:26 AM

From the beginning of human existence, art and music were part of the group or tribe. The people, or the cult, worked together to survive, and observed certain ceremonies and rites of passage. The rituals practiced were religious, as this was the over-arching way of approaching the mysteries of the...

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Music I (Mostly) Hold Dear: String Quartets of Tsontakis,Wheelock, Rodriguez, and Godfrey

(0) Comments | Posted April 8, 2015 | 2:08 PM

The String Quartet was initiated by Joseph Haydn. His pieces were written for, and performed by, the educated amateur, often an aristocrat and his friends and family. It was parlor music in the best sense of that phrase. Mozart joined in the fun, and then Beethoven pushed the medium into...

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Music I (Mostly) Hold Dear: Concertos of Jaffe, Tower, Albert and Rouse

(0) Comments | Posted February 26, 2015 | 1:06 PM

In this article I discuss a number of wonderful recent concertos. This is not to suggest that the composers of these works haven't written many other meritorious pieces in other genres. I simply want to get their music out to those who are interested in hearing some of the best...

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Music I (Mostly) Hold Dear: George Rochberg

(0) Comments | Posted February 5, 2015 | 10:19 AM

I was occasionally in the presence of the wonderful photographer Irving Penn in the 80's. I will never forget a simple statement he made then, "I keep getting better the older I get because I do learn more as I go along." While this sounds patently obvious, it is true...

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Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph By Jan Swafford

(1) Comments | Posted January 21, 2015 | 2:36 PM

Jan Swafford, one of our best music biographers, is first and foremost a composer. His compositional output, while not large, is rich in spirit. Listen to his Piano Quartet and Piano Trio (both available on a single disc) for starters. It is this compositional persona that so informs his biographies....

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Music I (Mostly) Hold Dear: Lerdahl String Quartets, 1-3

(0) Comments | Posted December 26, 2014 | 6:01 PM

Fred Lerdahl, composer and theorist, has written three string quartets a cycle that are important to the literature for this medium in the 21st century. There is a pedagogic nature to the writing, as the pieces teach you what they are about as they go along, and they are written...

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Music in the Southwest Part 2: The Tucson Symphony Orchestra

(0) Comments | Posted October 3, 2014 | 5:41 PM

There have been occasions when the American basketball Dream Team has been beaten by a team from a little itty-bitty country because that latter team plays real team ball, and the most famous guys just can't make it happen together. Sometimes this happens in the music world as well. And...

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Tito Munoz and the Phoenix Symphony

(0) Comments | Posted September 18, 2014 | 10:40 AM

The summer is over and it is time to get back to making contact with the world again. And I am right in time as it is the start of the new concert season.

In my brief absence the music world continues to go quite gaga with youth. Many...

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Music I (Mostly) Hold Dear: On Robert Dick

(0) Comments | Posted July 25, 2014 | 7:03 PM

In tribute to Robert Dick on being awarded the National Flute Association's Lifetime Achievement Award, August 2014

I first met Robert Dick -- flutist, composer, improviser- when starting my graduate work at the Yale School of Music. He had finished up already but was very much in the mix of...

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Music I (Mostly) Hold Dear: John Corigliano and David Del Tredici

(0) Comments | Posted July 7, 2014 | 1:43 PM

Discussions regarding the relationship between musical persona and sexuality are mostly wrongheaded, dumb, and beside the point. If the music is superb it doesn't matter if a transgender giraffe, homosexual zebra, or a very straight lama wrote it. Why should one care if it is a lesbian or gay, as...

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A Tale of Two Concertos

(0) Comments | Posted May 6, 2014 | 2:48 PM

My friend Stephen Albert once said that he couldn't imagine writing a string quartet after those of Bartok. I countered with what still seems to me an appropriate response: How can you write a symphony after Beethoven, songs after Schubert, or really, operas after Mozart or, oops -- maybe even...

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Music I (Mostly) Hold Dear: Frederic Rzewski

(0) Comments | Posted April 23, 2014 | 1:59 PM

Frederic Rzewski's The People United Will Never be Defeated is one of those pieces that seems to have popped or plopped out whole and near perfect. While now I find it just a bit longwinded, it still works in its proportions and rigorous variation structure.

The work is a...

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Music I (Mostly) Hold Dear: John Adams

(0) Comments | Posted April 8, 2014 | 10:23 AM

John Adams is one of the most frequently performed of American composers and justly so.

Shaker Loops continues to hold its allure. In its well-handled diatonic materials, bravura approach to rhythm, units cycling through overlapping rhythmic loops, and its stretching of time and romantic accelerandi which have the force...

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Music I (Mostly) Hold Dear: Beaser

(0) Comments | Posted March 19, 2014 | 11:35 AM

Robert Beaser is one of our very strongest composers. For full disclosure, let me say that I have known Beaser since our student days at the Yale School of Music in the 70's and we were co-music directors of the New York contemporary music ensemble Musical Elements almost from its...

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The Music I (Mostly) Hold Dear: Brown and Feldman

(0) Comments | Posted March 3, 2014 | 8:43 AM

Of the perhaps inappropriately named New York School, I find Earle Brown's the most musically rich and articulate. Sign Sounds is for a small chamber orchestra. Brown's structural ideas are intriguing as always, presenting materials to be shaped by the conductor in performance. His open-form concept, an important aspect...

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Music I (Mostly) Hold Dear: Takemitsu

(0) Comments | Posted February 23, 2014 | 1:54 PM

Toru Takemitsu never wrote an ugly sound in his life (well maybe in his film music, but I speak here about his "art music"). Animated throughout his career by nature, many of his works carry titles relating to water or trees. This is so of two of his most beautiful...

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Music I (Mostly) Hold Dear: Glass

(0) Comments | Posted February 12, 2014 | 8:04 AM

I became aware of Philip Glass's music in 1975 when Ron Perera at Smith College introduced me to Music in Fifths. I thought it intriguing. While studying at Yale a few years later, Philip came up to New Haven at the invitation of the Art School (not the music school...

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