headshot

Daron Hagen

Composer, Essayist, and Stage Director

Daron Aric Hagen has written works of an extremely wide stylistic scope for an array of established and emerging soloists, ensembles, and organizations including pianists Gary Graffman and Joel Fan, mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey, baritones Nathan Gunn and Robert Orth, violinists Jaime Laredo and Michael Ludwig, cellists Sharon Robinson and Sara Sant’Ambrogio, the Kings Singers, Seattle Opera, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Orchestra of the Swan (UK), Opera Theater of Ireland, as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Louvre, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (Beijing), and Royal Albert Hall.

Because of the broad audience appeal and practicality of his nine operas, new productions and revivals occur frequently with international companies (Seattle Opera, Opera Ireland), regionals (Sarasota Opera, Kentucky Opera, Madison Opera, Tulsa Opera, Skylight Music Theater), independents (Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, West Edge Opera, Center for Contemporary Opera, Opera Vista), colleges (UK Opera, Moores Opera Center, Roosevelt University, Butler Opera Center, La Sierra College, USC), and high schools (Pittsburgh HS for the Performing Arts).

Hagen’s operas, symphonic works, choral, and chamber works are widely recorded on various labels, including Shining Brow and Complete Piano Trios (Naxos), Double Concerto (Bridge), Bandanna, Qualities of Light (Albany), Vera of Las Vegas (CRI / New World), Silent Night, Songs, Night Again, Songs of Madness & Sorrow (Arsis), Violin Concerto (Belle Fleur), Koto Concerto (MSR), Wedding Dances (Klavier).

He has recorded dozens of his over 250 published art songs as a collaborative pianist, conducted recordings of his operas, served as artistic director (Seasons Music Festival), and as chair of composition studies (Wintergreen Summer Music Academy) for music festivals, and served on academic faculties (Bard College, the Curtis Institute, Princeton Atelier). He has served as president of the Lotte Lehmann Foundation, as a board member (CRI, Joy in Singing), as a trustee (Douglas Moore Fund for American Opera), as composer in residence (Long Beach Symphony, CA), artist in residence (University of Pittsburgh, UNLV, Roosevelt University, Baylor University, Miami University), and is one of two Lifetime Members of the Corporation of Yaddo.

He made his debut as a stage director with Kentucky Opera (New York Stories) and will direct his latest opera for the company (A Woman in Morocco) this spring. He has co-written the libretti for two of his operas, and his articles are published regularly in the Huffington Post.

Hagen is the recipient of a 2014 American Academy of Arts and Letters award that recognizes "outstanding artistic achievement and acknowledges the composer who has arrived at his or her own voice." In 2012, he was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship. His work has also received the Kennedy Center Friedheim Prize, the Camargo Residency, two Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellowships, Barlow, Bearns, ASCAP and BMI prizes, and the Seattle Opera Chairman's Award.

Born in Wisconsin in 1961, Hagen graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Curtis Institute of Music and of the Juilliard School. He lives in Upstate New York with his wife (composer / vocalist) Gilda Lyons and their two sons, Atticus and Seamus.