DANIEL KNAGGS, native of southeast Michigan, is a concert composer creating vocal and instrumental music ranging from solo and chamber to orchestral works. Having studied five foreign languages in his university years, he maintains an international outlook in his work and output. He has lived in France, Mexico, and Nicaragua and many aspects of these and other cultures find their way into his music. In addition to cultural variety, Knaggs seeks to capture a distinct timelessness in his compositions, fusing aspects of music from all eras. He loves evoking vivid and vibrant imagery in his works, as well as focusing his efforts into projects such as his 50-year Ave Maria Project (2005-2054) in which he is composing a new Ave Maria each year for fifty years.
Daniel’s music is heard regularly in concert halls, churches, and radio broadcasts in both Europe and the Americas. His works are published by Edition Peters, Hal Leonard, Walton, Cadenza Music (UK), Morcelliana (Italy), and Daniel J. Knaggs Publishing, and in 2013 he created the record label ECCE Records, under which to release recordings of his compositions. His third CD of compositions is forthcoming.
Knaggs’s work has received a number of national and international awards. His first prize awards include the International Musica Sacra Competition (2011, Poland), the International Competition “David Maria Turoldo” (2012, Italy), the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir’s International Commission Competition (2010), the Foundation for Sacred Arts International Composer Competition (2010, USA), and both the Michigan (2011) and Illinois (2012) Music Teachers Association Composer Competitions. Knaggs was also second place winner of the Third Millenium Ensemble’s Composer Competition (2011), and a finalist in the SCI/ASCAP Commission Competition (2014), the American Prize (2015), the Young New Yorkers Chorus Composer Competition (2011), and the Minnesota Choral Arts Ensemble Commissioning Competition (2010).
Increasingly sought after as a composer, Knaggs has been most recently commissioned by Trinity College Choir of Cambridge (Stephen Layton, cond.), VOCES8, Jesus College choristers of Cambridge (Mark Williams, cond.), Organ & Choir Magazine/Choir of the Royal Holloway (Rupert Gough, cond.), Kinetic: The Conductorless Ensemble (Natalie Lin, leader), The Houston Chamber Choir (Robert Simpson, cond.), The University of Michigan Chamber Choir (Jerry Blackstone, cond.), Texas Tech University Choir (Richard Bijella, cond.), the Iowa State Singers (James Rodde, cond.), Vicennium Void, South Bend Chamber Singers (Nancy Menk, cond.), Musiqa of Houston, Da Camera Young Artist Program, Te Deum Chamber Choir (Matthew Shepard, cond.), The Michigan Festival of Sacred Music, Kingwood High School Choirs, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, and both the Michigan and Illinois State Music Teachers Associations.
Performers of his work include the Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bellas Artes Chamber Orchestra (Mexico City), Trinity College Choir of Cambridge (UK), VOCES8 (UK), the Vancounver Chamber Choir (Canada), the Houston Chamber Choir, Ars Nova Coral da UFMG (Brazil), Le Madrigal de Lille (France), Ensemble à ContreVoix (Canada), the Polish Chamber Choir, Jauna Muzika (Lithuania), the London Contemporary Church Music Festival (UK), Jesus College choristers of Cambridge (UK), Northwestern University Brass Ensemble, the Basilica Choir of the National Shrine, the American Creators’ Chorus, the University of Michigan Orpheus Singers and Chamber Choir, Choral Arts Initiative, Third Millenium Ensemble, Xanthos Ensemble, Great Noise Ensemble, Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, South Bend Chamber Singers, Rice University Campanile Orchestra, Boston Metro Opera, Coenobium Vocale and I Piccoli Musici (Italy), Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, Deciduous Trio, Audivi Vocem, Indiana University NOTUS choir, Cor Cantiamo, and the Donald Sinta Quartet.
Knaggs completed his master’s degree in music composition at Bowling Green State University in 2009 and graduated in 2007 from the University of Michigan with bachelor’s degrees in voice performance and Spanish. His composition teachers include Bright Sheng, Marilyn Shrude, Karim Al-Zand, Pierre Jalbert, and Arthur Gottschalk. Daniel was a full-time high school Spanish teacher for three years (2009-2012) and is now an ABD doctoral candidate in music composition at the Shepherd School of Music (Rice University) and Director of Music at St. Martha Catholic Church in Kingwood, TX where he directs both the main choir and the children’s choir.
AWARDS and HONORS
2015 – Finalist, The American Prize (choral division)
2014 – Finalist, SCI/ASCAP Commission Competition
2013-14 – Young Artist Composer in Residence, Da Camera Houston
2013 – Bertha Mallard Scholarship for Music Composition, Shepherd School of Music
2013 – First prize, First International Composer Competition, Foundation for Sacred Music Composers
2013 – ASCAPlus Award, Concert Music Division
2012 – Shinik Hahm Prize, Shepherd School of Music
2012 – First prize, 1st International Musica Sacra Composer Competition “David Maria Turoldo”, Italy
2012 – Illinois State Music Teachers Association Composer Commissioning Program – 2012 commissioned composer
2012 – ASCAPlus Award, Concert Music Division
2011 – First prize, International Musica Sacra Competition, Poland
2011 – First place, Michigan Music Teachers Association Commission Competition
2011 – Second place, Third Millenium Ensemble Composer Competition
2011 – Finalist, Young New Yorkers Chorus Composer Competition
2011 – ASCAPlus Award, Concert Music Division
2010 – First and Third prize, International Composer Competition (non-liturgical category), Foundation for Sacred Arts
2010 – Second and Third prize, International Composer Competition (liturgical category), Foundation for Sacred Arts
2010 – Winner, International Commission Competition, Indianapolis Symphonic Choir
2010 – Triple Winner, Boston Metro Opera’s 2011 Contemporary Americana Festival
2010 – Finalist/honorable mention, Commissioning Competition, Minnesota Choral Arts Ensemble
2010 – Distinguished Thesis Award, Bowling Green State University
2010 – ASCAPlus Award, Concert Music Division
2009 – Winner, Centenary Hymn Competition, Diocese of Toledo
2009 – ASCAPlus Award, Concert Music Division
2017 – TBA new work for the Yale Norfolk Festival Choral Workshop, Simon Carrington, director (in progress)
2017 – TBA new work (choral), commissioned by Choir and Organ Magazine, for the Choir of Royal Holloway, Rupert Gough, cond., London, UK
2016 – Of Time and Passing (3 pieces for choir), VOCES8, London, UK
2016 – Ave Maria No. 12 – Porta Caeli, Houston Chamber Choir, Robert Simpson, cond.
2016 – TBA new work – Co-commission: Texas Tech University Choir and Iowa State Singers
2016 – Awaiting the Dawn (orchestra), Campanile Orchestra, Jerry Hou, cond., Houston, TX
2015 – Two Columns at Sea (string orchestra), Kinetic: The Conductorless Ensemble, Natalie Lin, leader, Houston, TX
2015 – Numberless Stars (polychoral work), Kingwood High School choirs, Jason Watt, director, Houston, TX
2015 – Ave Maria No. 11 – Virgo Tepeyac (SATB choir + soprano solo) – Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
2014 – Ancient Ruins (piano quartet), Vicennium Void, Houston, TX
2014 – Ave Maria No. 10 “Virgo Serena” (SSATB choir + string orchestra) South Bend Chamber Singers, Nancy Menk, cond., South Bend, IN
2014 – Come Unto Me (SA choir), choristers of Jesus College, Mark Williams, cond., University of Cambridge, UK
2014 – Nebula (flute and electronics), Aaron Perdue, flute, Houston, TX
2013 – Midtown Music (brass sextet), Musiqa, Houston, TX
2013 – Resoundings (3 movements for viola and harp), Da Camera of Houston, TX
2013 – Joseph, Son of David (SATB choir), Trinity College Choir, Stephen Layton, cond., University of Cambridge, UK
2013 – Eventide (viola and saxophone), Jarita Ng and Joseph Girard, MI
2013 – Twilight Songs (3 songs for soprano and piano), Anna Cavaliero, London, UK
2013 – Mysterium (SATB choir), Te Deum, Matthew Shepard, cond., Kansas City, MO
2013 – Sunset (SATB choir), University of Michigan Chamber Choir, Jerry Blackstone, cond., Ann Arbor, MI
2013 – Hear My Voice (SATB choir), Cor Cantiamo, Eric A. Johnson, cond., Michigan Festival of Sacred Music, MI
2012 – Generations (5 movements for pierrot + percussion), Illinois State Music Teachers Association, IL
2011 – Streams (string quartet), Michigan Music Teacher’s Association, MI
2011 – Iucnda Lux (SSAATTBB choir), Young New Yorkers Chorus, Michael Kerschner, cond., New York, NY
2011 – Anastasis (violin and piano), St. Anastasia Parish’s Art for God’s Sake Festival, Troy, MI
2010 – Quem Pastores Laudavere (SSAATTBB choir), Eric Stark, cond., Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, IN
2008 – Three Nature Songs (for soprano and pierrot + percussion), Xanthos Ensemble, Boston, MA