Daniel Walden (b. 1989 in Berkeley, California) is a pianist, harpsichordist, music theorist, and musicologist. He is currently based in the UK as a Junior Research Fellow at The Queen’s College, University of Oxford.
As a performer, Daniel has earned praise for his “extreme virtuosity” (Alex Ross, New Yorker) and “effortless elegance” (Mathew Guerrieri, NewMusicBox) in programs that blur the boundaries between historical and contemporary repertoire, as well as recital and improvisation. Daniel is a graduate of Oberlin College and Conservatory, where he studied piano with Peter Takács and harpsichord with Webb Wiggins after completing private studies with Ann Schein, Sharon Mann, and Pierre-Laurent Aimard as a Cleveland Orchestra Artist-in-Residence Fellow in 20th- and 21st Century Music. He has received early career support from the Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship for the Performing and Visual Arts for his innovative projects aimed at broadening the keyboard repertory, and appeared as a soloist and chamber musician at leading festivals and venues across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Daniel’s first album, Dual Synthesis for harpsichord and electronics, has been described as “one of the most outstanding recordings of new music in this century” (New York Classical Review) and profiled by the New York Times as one of "Five Harpsichord Works You Need to Know."
Upcoming highlights include the world premieres of Clara Iannotta’s Eclipse Plumage for prepared piano and ensemble at Gaudeamus Muziekweek (with Ensemble Oerknal), and Julio Estrada’s complete yuuonhui’ cycle at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington DC (with Fonema Consort). He will also present a repeat performance of Evan Williams’ Dead White Man Music for harpsichord and chamber orchestra with members of the Toledo Symphony at Festival 4(19); fortepiano recitals investigating Johanna Kinkel’s microtonal theories of Frédéric Chopin’s music, including on Chopin’s own piano at the Cobbe Collection; and a series of concert and recording projects featuring new commissions by Giorgio Netti and Reiko Füting in response to early modern Italian harpsichord repertory. Full biography available upon request.
As a researcher and academic, Daniel combines the pursuit of musical studies with the global histories of science and society, postcolonial studies, and media theory. He is currently a Junior Research Fellow at The Queen’s College, Oxford. He holds a PhD in Music at Harvard University, where he studied as a Presidential Scholar and Harvard Horizons Scholar, as well as an MPhil in Music Studies with Distinction from University of Cambridge, where he studied as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. His current book project draws on his dissertation, “The Politics of Tuning and Temperament: Transnational Exchange and the Production of Music Theory in 19th-Century Europe, Asia, and North America.” It examines the political forces that shaped the development of comparative musicology, psychoacoustics, and score-based analysis, and illustrates how the increasing entanglements between Western and non-Western scholarship fundamentally reconfigured national politics through the reciprocal exchange of musical instruments and ideas. Daniel also maintains a secondary interest in the connections between enharmonic music theory and the visual arts in early modern Italy, pursuing this research most recently as a 2016 Graduate Fellow at Villa I Tatti Center for Renaissance Studies, and has published on topics ranging widely from ancient Greek music theory to Schoenberg’s typewriter in peer-reviewed journals including the History of the Humanities, Early Music History, Greek and Roman Musical Studies, Music Theory Online, and Études Grégoriennes. For more information, please click here.
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