Sad news: Brain tumour claims US composer, 66

Sad news: Brain tumour claims US composer, 66


norman lebrecht

May 15, 2017

The death of Daniel Brewbaker has been reported by friends and family. Daniel, 66, had been suffering for two years from a brain tumour.

A composers of great gifts, charm and grace, he was one of the first US composers to be performed in Russia by Valery Gergiev. Based in New York, he spent a long period in Europe working with Hans Werner Henze, Luciano Berio and Henri Dutilleux.

Daniel said: ‘I like music that moves me, involves me intellectually, emotionally, and physically. So I would hope to engage listeners in my music on those levels.’


  • William Osborne says:

    I briefly met Daniel when he was a fellow at the Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, NM. A very kind, generous, sensitive soul with a great musical gift. A sad loss indeed. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

  • Richard Kessler says:

    I knew Daniel very well and I think the last time I saw him was at The Chamber Music America Conference this past January. He was a terrific person–warm hearted, friendly, and sweet. He was a fine composer. It is a sad loss. The world has lost another good person. Rest in Peace, Daniel Brewbaker.

  • Michael Adams says:

    Daniel was perhaps the classiest, warmest human being I knew. I was lucky to get to know his music, luckier still to commission two chamber works over the years under the auspices of Music in the Vineyards Festival. I will miss him.

  • Susanne Mentzer says:

    I was lucky to have attended Juilliard with Daniel. He wrote a work called “Living the Divine” for children’s choir, percussion, mezzo and piano which I premiered in Chicago. I also sang his work “The Journey” with Music in the Vineyards.
    Such a loss of a great human being. I second what Michael Adams says above.

  • Helene Kamioner says:

    I am devastated by the tragic news of the passing of a colleague, teacher and friend. Danny and I had a very special relationship since our days together at Juilliard….we were exactly the same age born a few days apart, and knowing that he is gone leave a great big emptiness which will always be felt. My heart goes out to all who knew this warm, gracious, understanding and talented gentleman.

  • Catherine Glaser says:

    I met Daniel in 2002 when my chorus, cantare children’s choir, together with three other choirs, premiered his Irish cantata Out of the most, Above the reel under the direction of Doreen Rao. The music is glorious. Daniel was such a gifted composer. We sang many of his works through the years. I shall miss his gentle soul, his love of poetry and his generous spirit. Rest in peace dear Daniel.

  • Pamela says:

    Awe, I remember he and his lovely caregiver (Gloria) coming to North at the Elgin Symphony door where we usher to attend performances. He was always thrilled to be a part of the evenings and tickled at our recognizing his “celebrity”. Such a talented man. Pamela srejma

  • David P. Graham says:

    I was a member of Hans Werner Henze’s composition-class in Cologne 1980-83, much of that time Dan was there too. He was a wonderful friend, always full of humour, always positive, always at the last minute with composition! Refreshingly non avant-garde (even less so than Henze) and I, my wife and very many others will miss him for his humanity and musicianship.

  • Deb Bolivar says:

    I grew up with Danny from grade school through high school. Despite his fame and success he always remained a kind, sincere person, unassuming and accepting of others. He leaves a great void for everyone who was fortunate enough to know him. We have his beautiful music to recall his kind and loving nature.

  • Carter Brey says:

    Daniel was a gentle, warm human being and a wonderful composer of colorful, original, emotionally and intellectually engaging music. I was fortunate to have premiered his cello concerto, “La Serenissima”. He will be missed very much.

  • Mike Lewis-Beck says:

    My son, Colin, and I knew Daniel via our shared visits in residence at the Camargo Foundation on the southern coast of France. I was there as a scholar, Daniel as a composer, but we shared the same joys– good music, poetry, food and wine. We tasted everything we could, never stinting. I remember most vividly the Bandol wine party, accompanied by endless cheeses, pates, and other local treats. About a year ago, my last visit with Daniel, at his home in Elgin, I took him a “three-pack” of Bandol and Chateau-neuf-de-Pape wines, which we drank before and after a wonderful Italian meal. Daniel composed, for my son’s birthday during a Camargo visit, a tune entitled Happy Birthday Colin. We have it framed still. Daniel wanted to put poetry to music, to get behind the words. He was a wonderful romantic, a wonderful friend, and artist. We will miss him greatly. Mike Lewis-Beck