Daniel Steven Crafts wrote for the great tenor Jerry Hadley until his tragic death. The first of their collaborations, The Song & the Slogan, a setting of poetry by Carl Sandburg, was made into a program for the PBS Television Network and ultimately won an Emmy for Best Music. It can be found on Youtube.
His opera and vocal music and collaborations have included work with writers Rudolfo Anaya (La Llorona), V.B. Price (From a Distant Mesa), Benedict and Nancy Freedman (Sappho), Erik Bauersfeld (Diary of a Madman; Bartleby), poet Adam Cornford (many works) and cartoonist Shannon Wheeler (Too Much Coffee Man).
With Too Much Coffee Man Opera he created a new sub-genre of classical opera known as Gonzo Opera. While using the vocal techniques of traditional opera, Gonzo Opera uses wildly comical and satirical plots and situations, and is designed for small ensembles.
His work has been recorded by the Kiev and Czech Philharmonics and the Prague Radio Symphony and Chorus. Mr. Crafts has received commissions from the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra and Kent Nagano (My Mistress Suite, based on medieval melodies), the Northwest Symphony (for its 50th anniversary celebration), and the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra (for its 75th anniversary).
In 1980 the composer, considered a progenitor of the "found sound" movement, released an LP of tape composition, Snake Oil Symphony / Soap Opera Suite, which has subsequently been used as course material in university electronic music programs.
To date Mr. Crafts has completed 16 operas, 11 symphonies, 6 concertos, and 15 large orchestral works, as well as a variety of shorter pieces. His work has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts (once in collaboration with poet Adam Cornford), and numerous awards from ASCAP.
A selection of the music of Daniel Steven Crafts has been recorded on two CDs released by the BACAT label in San Francisco: Contemporaries contains two sets of satirical instrumental works; ARIAS features excerpts from three of his operas and several other vocal works including a complete setting of the William Blake Songs of Innocence & Experience.
Having spent most of his life in the San Francisco Bay Area, Mr. Crafts moved to New Mexico in 1999.
See the recent article.