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Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) is a composer, performer, violinist, and bandleader who seamlessly blends funk, rock, hip-hop and classical music into a new, personal sonic vision. Serving as a classical-urban ambassador for a widening global audience, he embraces his classical music roots with a multicolored spectrum of contemporary black popular music. His exploration of musical sounds and rhythms is peppered by cultural references and his own vibrant musical imagination. His dramatic soul-inspiring pieces range from orchestral scores and energetic chamber works, to rock songs and electronica.
As a composer, DBR has collaborated with an array of orchestras and chamber ensembles; the orchestras of Dallas, Memphis, San Antonio, St. Louis, and most recently the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the North Dutch Orchestra, and the American Composers Orchestra have performed or commissioned his works, and Bill T. Jones and the Orchestra of St. Luke's regularly collaborate with him---DBR is the Music Director of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and the Assistant Composer-in-Residence of the OSL. As Artist-in-Residence at Arizona State University, DBR collaborated with Philip Glass in Seen & Heard: Philip Glass and DBR Together on Stage, Screen and in Sound. He also serves as the Artist-in-Residence of the Seattle Theater Group sponsored by Starbucks.
Current projects include his highly anticipated 2007 debut season at BAM's NextWave Festival featuring One Loss Plus for violin, piano, electronics and video; 24 Bits: Hip Hop Studies and Etudes and Event Pieces performed by DBR on piano and laptop; and Call Them All: Fantasy Projections for Film, Laptop, and Orchestra, which received its world premiere at Carnegie's Zankel Hall by the American Composers Orchestra, and WE MARCH, a guitar concerto for Eliot Fisk and Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra. In etudes4violin&electronix, DBR's debut solo album from Thirsty Ear Records, he joins forces with a myriad of world class musicians including Philip Glass, Ryuichi Sakamoto, DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid and DJ Scientific, offering a series of lyrical and pulsing duets and solo works.
As a violinist and performer, DBR performed his arrangements of Cassandra Wilson's Glamoured with the jazz vocalist and her quintet while conducting the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Buffalo Philharmonic; rocked with DJ Spooky at the Lincoln Center Summer Festival and premiered a ground-breaking fusion of contrasting cultures and instruments with DJ Scientific in DBR's Sonata for Violin and Turntables at the Melbourne Arts Festival and Vancouver's PuSh Festival for the Performing Arts.
As a band leader, he presents lively, genre-jumping shows with DBR & THE MISSION, nine young, multi-cultural musicians including an amplified string quartet, drum kit, keyboard, DJ, and laptops. Described as "an evening of chamber music with the accessible feel of a rock concert," the band's multi-disciplinary performances have been applauded at Washington D.C.'s Kennedy Center, Miami's Caleb Auditorium, Chicago's Northwestern University, Arizona State University's Gammage Auditorium, Montclair's Kasser Theater, Reno's ArtTown Festival, Houston's Society for the Performing Art and as part of Boston's Bank of America Celebrity Series among others. DBR's 24 Bits: Hip Hop Studies and Etudes were highlighted at the group's sold out performances nationwide---"true to form, these vary greatly in style, from slow, introspective Neo-Classical ruminations to rhythmically complicated, riffy pieces that would not be out of place in a dance club," (New York Times). In honor of Black History Month, the band's string quartet, SQ Unit, culminated a nationwide tour of DBR's string quartet program, A Civil Rights Reader, at Washington DC's Library of Congress.
As an educator, DBR is committed to working with young composers and music students in underserved communities throughout the globe, and shedding a new light on the teachings of arts and classical music through his unique, cutting edge, hybrid music. DBR attended Vanderbilt University for undergraduate studies in music and went on to receive his PhD in music composition from University of Michigan. He was recently profiled on NPR's All Things Considered, CBS Evening News and Crain's New York Business.