Praised for his “extreme virtuosity” (Alex Ross, New Yorker) and “effortless elegance” (Mathew Guerrieri, NewMusicBox) on piano and harpsichord, Daniel Walden has been featured in the United States, Europe, and Latin America in solo and chamber recital programs that span the fullest range of the keyboard repertory. He is also a PhD Candidate in Music Theory at Harvard University, and has published on topics ranging from ancient music to Schoenberg’s musical typewriter. He is committed to experimentation in both performance and research as means for blurring the boundaries between historical and contemporary music, composition and improvisation, and foreign and familiar sounds in compelling new ways.
As a musician: Daniel is a 2016-2018 Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellow for the Performing and Visual Arts, and has recently released his first CD, featuring Tristan Perich’s Dual Synthesis for harpsichord and electronics. This album was described as “one of the most outstanding recordings of new music in this century” by New York Classical Review, and was selected by Mahan Esfahani in the New York Times as one of the "Five Harpsichord Works You Need to Know." He is a founding member of ensemble Oerknal!, a new music collective based in The Netherlands, which has been featured at Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw and The Hague’s Korzo Theater, as well as in residencies including Gaudeamus Muziekweek in Utrecht and the Delian Academy for New Music in Mykonos, Greece. He has appeared at Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw, Harvard’s Memorial Hall, and NYC’s The Kitchen as part of Carnegie Hall’s American Mavericks Festival, and summer festivals including Bang on a Can, Norfolk New Music Workshop, Aspen Music Festival, and Banff Piano Masterclass. His performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s Piano Concerto with the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra as winner of the annual concerto competition was featured in the Young Artists Showcase on New York’s WQXR, where it was lauded as “brilliant.” Daniel has also worked closely on solo projects with composers including Julio Estrada, Christian Wolff, David Lang, and Rand Steiger, and has presented premieres of over one hundred works including recent commissions by Clara Iannotta, Reiko Füting and Lewis Nielson.
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 and Sharon Mann. While at Oberlin, Daniel was Cleveland Orchestra Artist-in-Residence Fellow in 20th and 21st Century Music with Pierre-Laurent Aimard. He is currently in the second year of a multi-year project, supported by the Annenberg Foundation, focused on developing the contemporary musical repertory of the harpsichord through investigation of historical techniques of tuning and temperament.
As a music theorist: Daniel is in his sixth year as a Presidential Scholar at Harvard University, after receiving an MPhil in Music Studies with distinction at University of Cambridge as a Gates Cambridge Scholar and Derek Cornwell Scholar in Instrumental Performance. His work explores the intersections between musical theory, technology and media, and political history from Ancient Greece to Renaissance Italy and twentieth-century Europe and Asia. He is a recent Graduate Fellow at Villa I Tatti (2016) and has published articles in peer-reviewed journals including History of the Humanities, Early Music History, Greek and Roman Musical Studies, Music Theory Online, Études Grégoriennes.
He is currently completing his dissertation on microtonality and just intonation in 19th-century Europe and Asia entitled Building A Just Society: Enharmonic Instruments, Transnational Politics, and Musical Discipline. This project focuses on keyboard technologies adapted for the performance of more than 12 divisions of the octave, and how they affected the development of academic discourse in the fields of music theory, musicology, and ethnomusicology.