Daniel Orsen, Viola

Daniel Orsen is a member of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Prior to joining the SPCO, Daniel lived for six years in Boston, where he performed with A Far Cry, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Fermata Chamber Soloists, and the Phoenix Chamber Orchestra, and founded and directed Jamaica Plain Chamber Music from 2019-2022.

As soloist, Daniel has performed Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante and Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Stamitz Viola Concerto with the Fermata Chamber Soloists, Vaughn William’s Christmas Suite with the Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra, and Thea Musgrave’s Lamenting Ariadne with the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble. His chamber festival credits include Oak Hill, Krzyzowa, Ravinia, Verbier, Prussia Cove, Taos and the Perlman Music Program.

Daniel is one half of the long-distance viola-piano duo, Wagner’s Nightmare, which occasionally roasts Richard Wagner. The duo’s eponymous album, Wagner’s Nightmare, released this past April. Every piece on the album is connected in someway to something or someone whom Wagner did not like, and features the rarely heard Viola Alta, a massive 19-inch viola Wagner specified for use in his orchestra at Bayreuth.

Daniel has an interest in cultural and intellectual history which has manifested itself not only in Wagner’s Nightmare, but in essays published by The Anglican Way, CREATED, and The Journal of the American Viola Society, and a blog on Substack reviewing CDs.

In addition to his private studio, Daniel teaches viola and chamber music at the St. Paul Conservatory of Music.

Daniel is a native of Pittsburgh, PA. He was taught and mentored by members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Credo, and the Perlman Music Program before his studies at the Oberlin Conservatory with Peter Slowik and the New England Conservatory with Kim Kashkashian. He plays on a 2013 Philip Injeian viola and a 2014 Benoit Rolland bow, both specially made for him.


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