Daniel Steven Crafts


Composer Daniel Steven Crafts came to New Mexico from San Francisco where he wrote for legendary opera star Jerry Hadley. The first of their collaborations, a setting of poetry by Carl Sandburg, The Song & the Slogan, was premiered in 2000, and made into a TV program for the PBS network, hosted by David Hartman, and awarded an Emmy in 2003 for Best Music. 

His opera and vocal music collaborations have included work with writers Rudolfo Anaya (La Llorona), V.B. Price (From a Distant Mesa), Benedict and Nancy Freedman (Sappho), Erik Bauersfeld (Diary of a Madman; Bartleby), poet Adam Cornford (many works), Thomas B. Woodward (And the Winner Is. . . / All the Right Moves), and cartoonist Shannon Wheeler (Too Much Coffee Man Opera). 

With Too Much Coffee Man Opera he created a new sub-genre of classical opera known as Gonzo Opera. While using the vocal techniques of traditional opera, Gonzo Opera uses wildly comical and satirical plots and situations. 

In 1980 the composer, considered a progenitor of the “found sound” movement, released an LP of tape composition, Snake Oil Symphony / Soap Opera Suite, which has subsequently been used as course material in university electronic music programs. 

To date Mr. Crafts has completed a dozen operas, eight symphonies, six concertos, and fifteen large orchestral works, as well as a host of shorter pieces. His work has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts (once in collaboration with poet Adam Cornford), and numerous awards from ASCAP. 

A selection of the music of Daniel Steven Crafts has been recorded on two CDs released by the BACAT label in San Francisco: Contemporaries contains two sets of satirical instrumental works including A Meter Maid Attempts to Give a Parking Ticket to an Aggressive Alcoholic Who Has Just Arrived With Three More Dimes; ARIAS features excerpts from three of his operas and several other vocal works including a complete setting of the William Blake Songs of Innocence & Experience. 

His work has been recorded by the Kiev and Czech Philharmonics and the Prague Radio Symphony and Chorus. Mr. Crafts has received commissions from the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra and Kent Nagano (My Mistress Suite, based on medieval melodies), the Northwest Symphony (for its 50th anniversary), and the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra (for its 75th anniversary). 

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