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Since moving to New York in 2006, Dan Blake has been on the rise as a leading figure in New York’s creative music scene.  He tours internationally with Grammy-winner Esperanza Spalding’s, as well as the Grammy-nominated Julian Lage Group.  Among his extensive discography is an appearance as a featured soloist on Anthony Braxton’s 2010 Trillium E opera (New Braxton House).  His most recent release, The Aquarian Suite (Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records) was listed by the NYC Jazz Record, The San Jose Mercury News, and Neue Zürcher Zeitung as among the best recordings of 2011, with the Boston Phoenix calling it, “One of the most ridiculously satisfying discs we’ve heard in some time.”  He performs and collaborates regularly with leading figures in New York’s improvised music scene such as Mary Halvorson, James Ilgenfritz, Hans Tammen, Ricardo Gallo, Peter Evans, Leo Genovese, and many others.

Dan Blake’s compositions have been recognized with support from ASCAP, The John Lennon Songwriting Contest, The American Composer’s Forum, The Jerome Fund, Meet The Composer, not to mention some of New York’s leading new music ensembles.  In the coming season, he will premier an evening length multi-media project featuring the Mivos quartet, as well as a piano and percussion work on commission from the new music series Dr. Faustus.  Last seasin, his award-winning work First Beginnings (2011) for tenor recorder and electronics saw its premier at the 2011 Electronic Music Foundation, receiving publication in the NY-based journal Ear To Mind (March, 2012).
Dan Blake holds a Ph.D. in composition from the Graduate Center, City University of New York, where he received the Baisley Powell Elebash Fund for an ongoing research project examining New York City’s improvised music scene.

About his piece for the Hammerklavier project:

"This work began as a solo piano piece, finding a new life thanks to the Dr. Faustus series. Thanks also are due to Brooklyn-based percussionist and composer Andrew Drury for being a continual source of inspiration, and whose uniquely streamlined and innovative extended percussion techniques I've adopted throughout this work.

I have recently become fascinated by early animation techniques that predate film-based cameras, one of which is the Zoetrope. Translated from the Greek as "active turning," this type of animation exploits an optical illusion that occurs when a series of static images are placed on the interior of a wheel and spun, while the viewer watches the images through a small slit in an outer ring, leading to the perception of motion.  For this piece, I imagined a situation, not possible in the visual domain, where one could see the zoetrope as both a series of static images and as a unified moving scene.  This kind of “static motion” is a perspective that I believe is uniquely possible in music, and is something I have experienced particularly in my work in improvised music.  Although this piece is not improvised, it does strive for a synergetic relationship between the players that is “actively turning” within a highly repetitious and static sound world."