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Born in Los Angeles in 1981, composer and performer GABRIEL KAHANE is a peerless musical polymath, invested equally in the worlds of concert, theater, and popular music.
Launched by his 2006 song cycle Craigslistlieder – heard frequently in august concert halls and dirty bars alike – Kahane’s rapid ascent as a composer of concert works comes into focus in the 2010/11 season, which witnesses the premieres of three commissioned works: The Red Book, a string quartet for the Kronos Quartet inspired by Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red; a hybrid cello sonata/song cycle for cellist Alisa Weilerstein and himself; and a large chamber work for the Los Angeles Philharmonic (Orinoco Sketches), conducted by John Adams and performed this evening on the orchestra’s Green Umbrella series. Other concert works include the chamber song cycle For the Union Dead on poems by Robert Lowell; the Piano Sonata for Natasha Paremski; and Django: Tiny Variations on a Big Dog, written for his father, pianist Jeffrey Kahane, and heard in its New York premiere at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall to great critical success.
As a performer, Kahane moves with ease between musical realms. His self-titled debut album, featuring performances by Sam Amidon, Sufjan Stevens, and Chris Thile, was released in 2008 and will be followed up by a second LP in February of 2011. Among his various credits as a performer, he has appeared with Rufus Wainwright on Elvis Costello’s Spectacle, sung lieder with pianists Jonathan Biss and Jeremy Denk, and has, as a pianist, joined bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff in recital throughout Europe. During the spring of 2010 Kahane embarked on a North American tour of his own music with multi-instrumentalist Rob Moose and the ensemble yMusic, beginning and ending in New York City on Lincoln Center’s acclaimed American Songbook series and later in a live broadcast from Merkin Hall for WNYC’s New Sounds Live.
Much in demand as a theater composer, Kahane was commissioned to write music and lyrics for February House, currently in development at The Public Theater, where he was named the inaugural Musical Theater Fellow in 2008. Four-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald has performed and plans to record a song from that show for her upcoming album for Nonesuch Records. Kahane has also received commissions from the Signature Theater in Arlington, Virginia and the Williamstown Theater Festival, which produced his show Caravan Man in 2007.
A 2010 MacDowell Colony fellow and 2009 composer-in-residence at the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, Kahane makes his home in Brooklyn, New York, in close company with a century-old piano and many books.