Steven Dann

Steven Dann


Steven Dann’s career covers the gamut of violistic possibilities. As principal viola of some of the world’s leading orchestras, as a veteran of the chamber music world, as soloist and recitalist and as a dedicated teacher, he enjoys all of what his instrument and his abilities can put in his path.


Steven Dann was born in Vancouver, Canada, in 1953. His foremost teacher and mentor was the late Lorand Fenyves. In addition he studied with William Primrose, Robert Pikler and Bruno Giuranna. Mr. Dann also spent six summers studying the string quartet repertoire with Zoltan Szekely and members of the Hungarian String Quartet.
Upon graduation from university he was named Principal Viola of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Canada, a position he has subsequently held with the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, the Vancouver Symphony and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He has also been a guest principal of the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle and, in both performance and recordings, with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Paavo Berglund and Pierre Boulez.
Steven Dann has collaborated as a soloist with such Maestri as Sir Andrew Davis, Rudolph Barshai, Jiri Belohlavek, Sir John Elliott Gardiner, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Vladimir Ashkenazy. Since 1990 Mr. Dann has been a member of the Smithsonian Chamber Players in Washington D.C. and was a founding member of the Axelrod String Quartet who are resident at the Smithsonian Institute.
Steven Dann has been a featured performer on the Smithsonian’s series of recordings for the Sony Classical Vivarte label. Two of these recordings have won the Diapasson d’Or in France. Solo recordings include “A Portrait of the Viola”, “Winter Music” for viola and orchestra by Alexina Louie (Written for Mr. Dann and nominated for a Juno award) and “Mega4 Meta4” by Christos Hatzis, all for CBC records and the Sequenza #6 of Luciano Berio for the Naxos label. A recording of the viola music of Brahms with pianist Lambert Orkis and mezzo-soprano Susan Platts for ATMA Classique will be released in June ‘06.
In the 05/06 season he will perform concerti of Peter Lieberson, Giya Kancheli, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Alexina Louie. Next season bring performances of concerti by Mark-Anthony Turnage with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Oliver Knussen conducting, and a world premiere of a new concerto of Christos Hatzis. The 05/06 season also brings performances with the Tokyo String Quartet in Toronto and New York and, as guest principal viola, Wagner’s Ring Cycle with the Canadian Opera Company for the opening of the new opera house in Toronto. Upcoming recording projects include two more CDs for ATMA and the second disc in a series of the complete piano chamber music of Brahms and Schumann with the Smithsonian Chamber Players.
Steven Dann has commissioned many new works from such composers as Alexina Louie, Peter Lieberson, R. Murray Shafer, Frederick Schipitsky and Christos Hatzis.
As both a performer and teacher, Mr. Dann is a regular guest at many international festivals including the National Arts Centre’s Young Artist Program, the Domaine Forget in Charlevois, Québec and the Banff School of Fine Arts. He teaches viola and chamber music at the Glenn Gould School in Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music. Mr. Dann plays a viola of Joseph Gagliano, circa 1780.


Gestillte Sehnsucht (Longing Appeased)

Written By: Friedrich R£uckert

In gold’nen Abendschein getauchet,
Wie feierlich die Wälder stehn!
In leise Stimmen der Vöglein hauchet
Des Abendwindes leises Weh’n.
Was lispeln die Winde, die Vögelein?
Sie lispeln die Welt in Schlummer ein.
Ihr Wünsche, die ihr stets euch reget
Im Herzen sonder Rast und Ruh!
Du Sehnen, das die Brust beweget,
Wann ruhest du, wann schlummerst du?
Beim Lispeln der Winde, der Vögelein,
Ihr sehnenden Wünsche, wann schlaft ihr ein?
Ach, wenn nicht mehr in gold’ne Fernen
Mein Geist auf Traumgefieder eilt,
Nicht mehr an ewig fernen Sternen
Mit sehnendem Blick mein Auge weilt;
Dann lispeln die Winde, die Vögelein
Mit meinem Sehnen mein Leben ein.

Longing Appeased
Steeped in a golden evening glow,
how solemnly the forests stand!
In gentle voices the little birds breathe
into the soft fluttering of evening breezes.
What does the wind whisper, and the little birds?
They whisper the world into slumber.
You, my desires, that stir
in my heart without rest or peace!
You longings that move my heart,
When will you rest, when will you sleep?
By the whispering of the wind, and of the little birds?
You yearning desires, when will you fall asleep?
Alas, when no longer into the golden distance
does my spirit hurry on dream-wings,
when no more on the eternally distant stars
does my longing gaze rest;
Then the wind and the little birds
will whisper away my longing, along with my life.


Brahms - Viola Works ATMA ACD2 2350

Set List


Bartok Bela, concerto /both versions
Hector Berlioz, “Harold in Italy”
Luciano Berio/Folksongs and Voci
Benjamin Britten, “Lachrymae” (with strings)
Walter Buczyinski
Edward Elgar
Sophia Gubaidulina
Christos Hatzis/Rebirth ( written for Mr Dann, Premiere June 2007)
Paul Hindemith, “der Schwanendreher”
Friedrich Hofmeister
Giya Kancheli/Styx (performed May 2006)
Giya Kancheli vla crto
Gyorgy Kurtag
Peter Lieberson (written for Mr Dann )
Alexina Louie/Winter Music (solo viola and 10 players w conductor)
W.A. Mozart sinfonia concertante
W.A. Mozart clarinet crto/vla transcription
Krysztof Penderecki
Godfrey Ridout
Alfred Schnittke
Carl Philippe Stamitz
Toru Takemitsu
George Philippe Telemann
Marc Antony Turnage/On Opened Ground (with
Oliver Knussen, Toronto Symphony, in 2007)
William Walton