Zach Daniels, a native to Springfield, Missouri, has had his music performed by groups across North America. Zach started his musical journey halfway through 6th grade, on Cello. Although initially a poor player, he continued on Cello through high school. In 9th grade, he was given an assignment in his orchestra class to write an 8 measure solo for cello and perform it for a grade. He immediately took off, writing a 31 measure Cello solo, (the most his free software would allow!) and taking off from there, self-taught. His director, Andy Johnston, learned about his compositions a year later which lead to his first composition premier, September 11th in May of 2008. After this premier, he was directed to go study under Carlyle Sharpe over at Drury. Since then, he has written over 200 works including; 5 Symphonies, 5 String Quartets, and a short one-act musical. His music employs ensembles ranging from Cello Duets and Solos, all the way to full symphony orchestra plus chorus. His primary instrument as of late is the Double Bass, having played it for the Springfield Youth Symphony for several years, and also served as Principal Bassist his senior year at Glendale High School. During this time he also began performing in the Bass section at the Missouri State Symphony Orchestra.
Zach earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music Composition at Drury University, where he performed on Double Bass in both of the University Orchestras, two Jazz ensembles, and the Wind Symphony. Other performances included student recitals, musicals, and freelance gigging. He continued to play cello in small ensemble settings, although preferring to play Double Bass as his primary instrument of choice. Zach has also become an adept conductor in his own right, preferring to conduct his own premiers feeling that the best way to control how a new piece will be received is by being on the podium. His music became popular with performers looking to end their capstone recitals with a taste of new music, as he had already written for several. Outside of the university setting, his music has been recorded in studios in Branson, MO and commissioned by such organizations as the Missouri Historical Society. As a senior composition major at Drury University, Zach organized and hosted a concert of his own music on campus showcasing previous works, as well as the premier three new pieces. His Senior Seminar project culminated in his writing his third symphony, Galaxy which was presented as a completed work and associated lecture to fellow composers, friends, and University faculty.
Shortly after graduating from Drury University, Zach moved to Norman, Oklahoma, where continued his studies at the University of Oklahoma School of Music, also serving as the school of music's composition area graduate assistant. He received his Masters degree in music composition from the University of Oklahoma in May of 2016, and finished his DMA in music composition in 2019. Zach continues to advocate for new music everywhere, having revitalized the "Composing Tomorrow" new music series at OU, as well as spearheading the new "Oklahoma Student Composers Workshop Event," a one-day workshop focused on exposing composers to other people's music not in their immediate area, and gaining valuable insight from colleagues at other institutions. He served as part of the first iteration of the SCI Student Council, where students from across the country address SCI and composer-based problems from the student perspective as part of a new initiative to strengthen the core of SCI's most active, yet least heard membership area: students.
In 2018, Zach finished a two-year long endeavor to preserve the highly important set of works by Mario Davidovsky: "Synchronisms" by remastering the aging tape parts, and creating an application that makes performances of the Synchronisms a much more attainable feat for those with little to no experience with electronic music. Another significant aspect of Zach's endeavors relates to his love of improvisational and experimental music, for which he was given leadership of the New Century Improve Ensemble at OU School of Music for several years. Under his guidance, the group accepted submissions from composers across the globe seeking to get their improvisational and experimental music performed, ire-introduced the concept of a laptop ensemble to the University of Oklahoma, and delved into the highly experimental realm of music by performing important works such as the La Monte Young Compositions 1960, Terry Riley's In C, and more recent works deserving of their place in the repertoire.
Graduating with a DMA at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic proved challenging, with most university searches coming to an abrupt halt as the world shut down for a time. During this era of a pandemic, Zach remains busy working on his personal research, "Polyphinite" and working with performers in an emergin post-Covid landscape for music. He teaches composition and double bass in the local area, gives talks on his music where possible, and currently serves as principal bassist of the Oklahoma Chamber Symphony. He also maintains his publishing company, Divisi Labs, which also hosts his online service "Polyphony" which aims to make the life of a composer easier by automating/simplifying many business aspects of being a composer. His book, "Polyphinite" is currently in the process of being written with hopes of being released sometime in 2022.