The Boston Globe
The Boston Globe
Composer-conductor Dan Welcher has been gradually creating a body of compositions in almost every imaginable genre including opera, concerto, symphony, vocal literature, piano solos, and various kinds of chamber music. With over eighty works to his credit, Welcher is one of the most-played composers of his generation.
Dan Welcher first trained as a pianist and bassoonist, earning degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. He joined the Louisville Orchestra as its principal bassoonist in 1972, and remained there until 1978, concurrently teaching composition and theory at the University of Louisville. He joined the Artist Faculty of the Aspen Music Festival in the summer of 1976 and has remained on that faculty ever since. In 1978, he accepted a position on the faculty at the University of Texas, where he created the New Music Ensemble. He served as Assistant Conductor of the Austin Symphony Orchestra from 1980 to 1990. During this period, his career as a conductor began to flourish, and he has led the premières of more than 120 new works in a twenty-two year period. After time out for a three-year stint as Composer in Residence for the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra (1990-1993), he returned to the University of Texas at Austin, where he now holds the Lee Hage Jamail Regents Professorship in Composition and serves as Director of the New Music Ensemble.
He has written numerous works for orchestra, including two works written in Hawaii: Haleakala: How Maui Snared The Sun for narrator and orchestra, and an ambitious 38-minute Symphony No. 1. More recent works include Bright Wings: Valediction for Large Orchestra, commissioned by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and premièred in Dallas under the baton of Music Director Andrew Litton in March 1997, and Spumante, a festive overture commissioned by the Boston Pops, premièred in Symphony Hall on May 6, 1998 under Keith Lockhart. His works for symphonic wind ensemble, notably Zion (which won the ABA/Ostwald Prize in 1996) and Symphony No. 3 ("Shaker Life") have earned him new accolades in non-orchestral venues. New works for the wind band include Perpetual Song (2000), commissioned by the West Point Band, Songs Without Words (2001), commissioned by the College Band Directors' National Association and Minstrels of the Kells (2002), commissioned by the bands of the Big Twelve Universities. His most recent orchestral works are Venti Di Mare: Fantasy-Concerto for Oboe and Small Orchestra, commissioned by the Guggenheim Foundation for the Rochester Philharmonic and premièred in February 1999; JFK: The Voice of Peace, a 55-minute oratorio for chorus, orchestra, narrator, solo cello, and soloists, premièred in March 1999 by the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston; and Zion, a 10-minute tone poem commissioned by the Utah Symphony, and premièred by that orchestra under Keith Lockhart in September 1999.
Dan Welcher has won numerous awards and prizes from institutions such as the Guggenheim Foundation (a Fellowship in 1997), National Endowment for the Arts, The Reader's Digest/Lila Wallace Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, The Bellagio Center, the American Music Center, and ASCAP. His orchestral music has been performed by more than fifty orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, and the Atlanta Symphony. Welcher lives in Bastrop, Texas..
Mr. Welcher's music is published by Theodore Presser Company.