"To Daniel Kidane's quietly impressive new Metamorphosis he brought stature, concentration and a beguiling range of sonorities."
Andrew Clark, Financial Times
Daniel Kidane‘s music has been performed extensively across the UK and abroad as well as being broadcast on BBC Radio 3, described by the Financial Times as ‘quietly impressive’ and by The Times as ‘tautly constructed’ and ’vibrantly imagined’.
Daniel began his musical education at the age of eight when he started playing the violin. He first received composition lessons at the Royal College of Music Junior Department and then went on to study privately in St Petersburg, receiving lessons in composition from Sergey Slonimsky. He completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the RNCM under the tutelage of Gary Carpenter and David Horne.
Highlights include orchestral works Woke, which was premiered by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and chief conductor Sakari Oramo at the Last Night of the Proms in September 2019, and Zulu by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra; a new work for the CBSO Youth Orchestra, which is inspired by Grime music; a chamber work for the Cheltenham Festival which draws inspiration from Jungle music and a new type of vernacular; a song cycle commissioned by Leeds Lieder and inspired by the poetry of Ben Okri; and a new piece entitled Dream Song for the baritone Roderick Williams and the Chineke! Orchestra which was played at the reopening of the Queen Elizabeth Hall in April 2018.
Recent works premiered during the Covid-19 lockdowns include The Song Thrush and the Mountain Ash for Huddersfield Choral Society with text by Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, Dappled Light for violinists Maxine Kwok and Julian Gil Rodriguez for the London Symphony Orchestra's Summer Shorts series; Christus factus est for Merton College Choir recorded for Delphian; and Be Still for the Manchester Camerata, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and received further international premieres by the San Francisco Symphony, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris. His most recent work Revel, inspired by Manchester Carnival, was commissioned by the BBC Proms for the Kanneh-Mason family, and premiered in August 2021.
Recent commissions for Michala Petri (recorder) and Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord) were released on CD and premiered in the UK at Wigmore Hall. Works for members of the London Symphony Orchestra, which have focused on multiculturalism, and an orchestral work for the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, motivated by the eclectic musical nightlife in Manchester, also received critical acclaim.
Works premiered during the Covid-19 lockdowns include The Song Thrush and the Mountain Ash for Huddersfield Choral Society with text by Poet Laureate Simon Armitage; Dappled Light for violinists Maxine
Kwok and Julian Gil Rodriguez for the London Symphony Orchestra's Summer Shorts series; Christus factus est for Merton College Choir recorded for Delphian; and Be Still for the Manchester Camerata, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and received further international premieres by the San Francisco Symphony, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris. One of his most recent works Revel, inspired by Manchester Carnival was commissioned by the BBC Proms for the Kanneh-Mason family and premiered in August 2021.
This season’s highlights will include the premiere of Orchestral Dances, a co-commission by the London Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony.
This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.
Movements for Harpsichord and Strings (world premiere)
New World Centre, New World Symphony & Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord), Florida (December 2021)
The audience gave the work an enthusiastic response (...) an intriguing composer whose other works should be programmed.
Lawrence Budmen, South Florida Classical Review
Revel (world premiere)
The Kanneh-Masons, BBC Proms - Royal Albert Hall (August 2021)
Kidane’s score is one that hums with possibility. Dawn breaks with shimmers of glass harmonica, bowed cymbal, and flute; a spiky dance breaks out full of Stravinskian cross-rhythms and stabs of clarinet. (…) Revel is bright and tonal, energetic and clean – nothing to frighten the horses, but likeable, warm, and inviting all the same.
Ben Poore, musicomh.com ****
Steve Reich-esque cross-rhythms introducing the city; clashing layers as the sound systems collide.
Erica Jeal, The Guardian ****
It’s a fluently composed piece and enjoyable
Barry Millington, Evening Standard
San Francisco Symphony (June 2021)
Mr. Kidane’s piece, receiving its American premiere, could hardly have been replaced, for as Mr. Salonen explained from the stage, “Be Still” was written in response to the pandemic, its first performance having occurred in January via live stream from Manchester, England. Scored almost completely for strings, the work is meditative but not inert. It tenses and relaxes repeatedly, until a twisted version of its theme asserts itself (a manifestation of our collective anxiety perhaps). A crescendo further destabilizes things. The coda comes as the first violinist enters into something of a duet with a nearby percussionist using a bow against crotales to summon the faintest tintinnabulations, until an abrupt silence brings the nine-minute work to a close. It may sound like a dig to say the music seemed to last longer on this occasion, but the observation is meant as a compliment.
David Mermelstein, Wall Street Journal
Royal Northern Sinfonia at Sage Gateshead (May 2021)
Daniel Kidane’s Towards Resolution left me wanting more. In a mere three minutes he re-imagined a Purcell fantasia in clusters of descending notes, essentially static but with glissandos and tremolos disturbing the surface
Bernard Hughes, Arts Desk ****
Be Still (world premiere)
Manchester Camerata at Stoller Hall (February 2021)
One of the best I’ve heard from this British composer: an exercise in atmospheric string tremolando chords, spookily embellished by bowed crotales, in which the harmonies gradually became more intense and dissonant. It had shape and substance.
Richard Morrison, The Times
Daniel Kidane’s Be Still, for string orchestra and bowed crotales, is quite definitely the music of 2020, reflecting (as he says) on the experience of lockdown and losing the everyday markers of passing time: but it’s also intended to create inner stillness and calm. Beginning with high tremolo strings, almost pulse-less, it extends their sound through the orchestra’s compass, as a rhythm begins and chords form fleetingly, building to a crescendo and ending with a lofty solo violin over a sustained sound carpet.
Robert Beale, The Arts Desk
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