Dan Welcher (born 1948) first trained as a pianist and bassoonist, earning degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. He joined the Louisville Orchestra as its Principal Bassoonist in 1972, and remained there until 1978, concurrently teaching composition and theory at the University of Louisville. He joined the Artist Faculty of the Aspen Music Festival in the summer of 1976, teaching bassoon and composition, and remained there for fourteen years. He accepted a position on the faculty at the University of Texas in 1978, creating the New Music Ensemble there and serving as Assistant Conductor of the Austin Symphony Orchestra from 1980 to 1990. It was in Texas that his career as a conductor began to flourish, and he has led the premieres of more than 120 new works since 1980. He now holds the Lee Hage Jamail Regents Professorship in Composition at the School of Music at UT/Austin, teaching Composition and serving as Director of the New Music Ensemble.
His works for symphonic wind ensemble, notably Zion (which won the ABA/Ostwald Prize in 1996) and Symphony No. 3, "Shaker Life" (1997) have earned him new accolades in non-orchestral venues. Newer works for the wind band include Perpetual Song (2000), commissioned by the West Point Band, Songs Without Words (2001), commissioned by the College Band Directors' National Association and Minstrels of the Kells (2002), commissioned by the bands of the Big Twelve Universities. His most recent work for wind ensemble is Symphony No. 4, "American Visionary", commissioned in honor of George Kozmetsky by the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas, which premiered in November of 2005.
Dan Welcher has won numerous awards and prizes from institutions such as the Guggenheim Foundation (a Fellowship in 1997), National Endowment for the Arts, The Reader’s Digest/Lila Wallace Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, The Bellagio Center in Bellagio, Italy, the Ligurian Study Center in Bogliasco, Italy, the American Music Center, and ASCAP. His orchestral music has been performed by more than fifty orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, and the Atlanta Symphony. He lives in Bastrop, Texas, and travels widely to conduct and to teach.
Works for Winds
- Arches: An Impression for Concert Band (1984)
- Castle Creek Overture (1989)
- Glacier (2003)
- Perpetual Song (2000)
- Songs Without Words (2001)
- Symphony No. 3, "Shaker Life" (1997)
- Symphony No. 4, "American Visionary" (2005)
- Minstrels of the Kells (2002)
- Yellowstone Fires, The (1998)
- Zion (1994)