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Performing Arts | Choral Director

Daniel Abraham

Daniel E. Abraham, Director of Choral Activities, has led choral, orchestral, and musical theater ensembles in the Boston, Washington, and Toronto areas. 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." A specialist in performance and practices of eighteenth-century music, his work with period-instrument ensemble The Bach Sinfonia is consistently recognized for its excellence in programming and innovative educational approach. Dedicated to performance, scholarship, and education, Abraham's activities at American University include conducting the American University Chorus and the American University Chamber Singers and teaching courses in music history, music theory, and music appreciation courses ranging from The Music of Bach, Handel & the Late Baroque to A History of Rock-n-Roll.

A frequent clinician, adjudicator, and festival jurist, he has led various festival ensembles, clinics, and masterclasses in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Ontario, Canada. During the spring of 2005, he was invited as Visiting Distinguished Professor of the Arts by American University in Cairo to rehearse and conduct performances of a chamber chorus formed jointly by AUC students, students of the Cairo Conservatoire of Music, members of the Cairo Opera House, and other civic choirs. While in Cairo, Professor Abraham provided lectures, directed master classes, and led clinics for various Egyptian professional and civic music organizations, which included a master class on baroque performance practice at the Cairo Conservatoire, the first of its kind held in the country. In the fall 2006, he will direct the Montgomery County (MD) Honor Chorus.

He was a conducting fellow at the 1997 Oregon Bach Festival where he worked and studied with the renowned Bach interpreter Helmuth Rilling, principally studied choral and orchestral conducting with Paul Traver (University of Maryland), Harold McSwain, and Christopher McGahan (University of Massachusetts), and received additional training with William Weinert (Eastman School of Music), and David Hoose (Boston University). His musicological studies were under the guidance of the late Howard Serwer and John Ogasapian, as well as Richard G. King, E. Eugene Helm, Rachel Wade, and Richard Wexler. Prior to his appointment at American University, he was on faculty at The George Washington University and was previously the Director of the University of Maryland's Collegium Musicum.

He has conducted performances at the Kennedy Center, The National Women's Museum of the Arts, and twice before National Meetings of the American Musicological Society. Broadcast credits include choral preparation for the Kennedy Center Honors Gala (PBS), chorus master for the national broadcast of Christmas in Washington on TNT as well as an appearance on the nationally syndicated PBS series History Detectives during its initial seasonin 2003. Other notable engagements include the first modern performance of the 1776 French comic opera Fleur d'Epine by Marie Emmanuelle Bayon-Louis, period-instrument performances of Purcell's semi-opera The Indian Queen featuring renowned soprano soloist Amanda Balestrieri and countertenor Jay White, period-instrument performances of all six of Bach's Brandenburg Concerti for The Bach Sinfonia's Tenth Anniversary Season. He has conducted various modern premieres of eighteenth-century works including the Washington area premiere of George Frideric Handel's recently rediscovered Gloria, period-instrument concerts of Handel's Alexander's Feast before the 2005 Annual National Meeting of the American Musicological Society including the North American premiere complete performance of the J. S. Bach's Alles mit Gott und nichts mit ohn' ihn, BWV 1127, just recently rediscovered in June 2005. His performances have been Nationally Broadcast on NPR's Performance Today and his recording of Handel's Alexander's Feast and Bach's BWV 1127 will be released on the Dorian Records label in the late 2006.

As a scholar, he has worked for The Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Edition (Oxford University Press), has edited music for Cambridge University Press, and is currently editing an eighteenth-century opera for A-R Editions. Professor Abraham was the 1996 recipient of the Lowens Award for excellence in musicological research, the 1998 recipient of the Daniel Pomeroy Prize given by the American Handel Society for Performance and Scholarship in eighteenth-century music.

Professor Abraham has served various professional organization including his work as grant panelist for the Maryland State Arts Council. For the American Choral Director Association, he serves as the current Chair of Repertoire and Standards for Colleges and Universities for the Maryland and the District of Columbia and was Chair for the 2006 Eastern American Choral Director Association Collegiate Honor Choir and a member of the executive planning committee for the 2006 Eastern ACDA Division conference in New York City. He has served as a capital chapter representative to the National Council of the American Musicological Society and will again serve as chair Chair for the Eastern ACDA Collegiate Honors Choir in 2008.