The Dan Joseph Ensemble was founded in 2001 by composer Dan Joseph as a vehicle for his growing body of post-minimal experimental compositions. With a unique instrumentation anchored by hammer dulcimer and harpsichord, a mix of winds, strings and percussion, the ensemble sound is harmonically rich and deeply resonant, evoking a musical world both old and new; ancient and modern.

The group was active in New York City between 2002 and 2015 and its core members included Tom Chiu (violin), Loren Dempster (cello), Marija Ilic (harpsichord), Danny Tunick (percussion) and the composer on hammer dulcimer. Other musicians who participated in performances included clarinetists Michael Lowenstern, Katie Porter, Meighan Stoops, Matt Ingalls, Daniel Goode, JD Parran and Anthony Burr; saxophonist John Ingle; flutists Leah Paul and Amelia Lukas, harpists Shelley Burgon and Bridget Kibbey; keyboardists Jed Distler and Aya Hamada; and guitarist Gyan Riley.

The Ensemble recorded most of its repertoire for two Mutable Music CDs, Archaea (2006) and Tonalization (for the afterlife) (2011), both of which garnered national and international press. Both recordings can be heard on most streaming services and purchased on Bandcamp.


Press quotes for Tonalization (for the afterlife) CD (Mutable Music, 2011)

The folk element in this recording, however, is a strong presence. The intelligent orchestration, highlighted by the dulcimer elicits a warmth and humanity not found in Glass or Adams. The blend of string instruments, plucked, struck, and bowed, with the added color of flute and marimba, provide rich colors that enhance each repetition of the composer’s intriguing melodic fragments. Fanfare (USA)

This outstanding 2009 composition occupies 33 minutes of the release, and it’s a glorious arrangement in pure simplicity….This is music of such declared honesty and transparency that it’s the exact opposite of the way the world currently conducts itself. The Sound Projector (UK)

The album is one of the many exclamation marks in this outlook on Mutable Music’s releases from the past year. Tidningen Kulturen (Sweden), November, 2011

But the title piece, taking up half the CD is an absolute great work if you like minimal music in the true classical sense. Vital Weekly (USA) November, 2011

Press quotes for Archaea CD (Mutable Music, 2006)

Archaea is an intriguing contemporary minimalist album……a sophisticated and beautifully performed personal expression……as vibrant as Phillip Glass’s early works: it is fresh, young, and perfectly straddles that fine line of pop new music on which Glass, Riley, Reich, Hassel, Eno, and others rode to fame in the 1960s and ’70s……a great way to introduce new composition to younger ears, and to lighten the soul of the jaded listener.” Musicworks (Canada)

“I put this on an was transported…….The first reference was the Penguin Café Orchestra – the sound, vibrancy, joy and tempo. Then I realised that this was minimalism of a high order…….. A fabulous album.”
Ampersand (USA)

“Through and through, this is an outstanding release.”  GAZ-ETA | recenzje (Poland)

“For Joseph, Archaea knocks one out of the park, meeting Mutable Music’s worthy goal of releasing music that will “engage the mind and the heart,” as well as providing an example of everything that can go deliciously right with minimalist work.”  Startling Moniker (USA)

“I played this with curiosity and fell in love with this. Especially the first two pieces, ‘Percussion And Strings’ and ‘Archaea Quartet’ are great. It’s an odd mixture of minimalism, along Steve Reich’s early seventies works (like ‘Octet’, but then without any wind instruments), oriental (eastern Europe), baroque and even mediaeval at times.”  Vital Weekly (USA)

“What is clear to me in Dan Joseph’s pieces is how he tries different ideas of minimalism….the performance by the group is brilliant, precise and fluent at the same time. Especially the first two pieces show rewarding and fresh ideas.”  Radioshow “PSYCHE v/h FOLK.” (Belgium)


6/14/15 – Barbès, Brooklyn
9/29/13 – Issue Project Room (22 Boerum Pl.)
10/4/12 – Incubator Arts
5/20/11 – Construction Company
2/25/11 – Issue Project Room (232 3rd St.)
5/24/10 – Roulette (20 Greene St.)
3/17/10 – Issue Project Room (232 3rd St.)
2/26/10 – The Old Stone House
11/4/06 – The Stone
6/17/06 – Issue Project Room (400 Carroll St.)
4/28/05 – Issue Project Room (619 East 6th St.)
1/29/05 – West Goes East, CalArts at the Kitchen,
9/27/04 – 21st Century Schizoid Music, Cornelia Street Café
4/17/04 – The Construction Company
04/3/03 – Interpretations, Merkin Concert Hall
7/20/02 – Cooler in the Shade, Lotus Music and Dance

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