Sweeping melodies, resonating chords and rich textures … these are the trademarks of Dan Chadburn, a composer/pianist who invests the New Age / adult contemporary genre with a uniquely passionate sound. Deeply versed in both classical and modern traditions, Dan is a master of improvisation -- the art of creating, in the moment in response to the stimulus of one's immediate environment and inner feelings.
A native of Oregon, Dan began taking piano lessons when he was nine years old and continued through high school where he also served as the accompanist for the choral groups and stage plays. Several times in junior high and high school, he was selected as an Oregon Music Teacher's Association (O.M.T.A.) syllabus winner, which resulted in his performing in recitals on the state level. He went on to earn his Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance at Pacific Lutheran University, where he studied with Dr. Calvin Knapp. Following three national tours as a pianist and singer/songwriter, Chadburn moved to Los Angeles and enrolled in the Film Scoring Program at UCLA. Soon he was scoring for television and working as a session musician.
Wanting to further expand his musical vision, Dan moved to London and studied ElectroAcoustic Composition under two pioneers in the field, Denis Smalley and Simon Emmerson. “I was very grateful for the opportunity to learn from these two masters in the genre and grow as a composer. This was a non-traditional form of composition that some would say was on the outskirts of avant-garde. In this genre, traditional instruments and melody are frequently absent. My primary focus was to record odd sounds, transform them with audio processing, and insert them into symphonic works. For one piece, 'Dreams,' I recorded and altered sounds made by various kitchen items such as jelly beans dropped into a bowl, spatulas hitting cake pans, water shaken in a jar, portable oven timers, etc., ultimately creating a surreal collage of sound to represent what one might hear and see after falling asleep." Chadburn earned his Masters of Music degree in ElectroAcoustic Composition from London’s City University.
Chadburn’s performance venues have included Carnegie Hall in New York City, Symphony Hall in Boston and The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Additionally, his choral compositions have been recorded and performed in the Concert Hall of The Kennedy Center.
After moving to the Washington, DC, area, Chadburn recorded hundreds of improvisational piano pieces which led to his first album, solo piano. The Washington Area Music Association nominated the album for “Best New Age Recording” in the WAMA Awards, and Chadburn was nominated for “Best New Age Instrumentalist.” His second recording, Reflections, included other musicians on viola, French horn, flute and English horn, plus on one track the singing of Tom Nichols, Chadburn’s husband, longtime musical partner and producer. Chadburn's Nocturnes, again with additional instrumentation, earned a WAMA nomination for "Best Classical Recording" while Chadburn was nominated as "Best Classical Instrumentalist."
Chadburn has been featured (alongside other pianists such as Suzanne Ciani, Spencer Brewer and Robin Spielberg) on several compilation recordings produced for charitable causes, including The Heart Aid Project which benefited the victims of the 9/11 tragedy and their families. Among Chadburn’s other special projects was a single, “Promise of Hope,” he wrote and recorded for a philanthropic program run by Choice Hotels International and benefiting The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington and Metropolitan Baltimore. With Nocturnes, Chadburn continued to donate to worthwhile causes. Proceeds from “Peter’s Theme” on that album are donated to The Peter Fox Project which in turn benefits the Sitar Arts Center in Washington, an after-school youth organization for the arts. In addition, the tune “Anne’s Lullaby” benefits The National Family Resiliency Center “to preserve a sense of family and foster healthy relationships.” In both 2014 and 2015, Chadburn and his husband, Tom Nichols, performed benefit concerts to raise funds for the Florence Area Humane Society (a “no kill” shelter) in Oregon.
Chadburn is a classically-trained pianist who found he enjoyed improvisational creations as much as playing traditional repertoire. Now he uses improvisation to compose most of his material on piano (and occasionally on electronic keyboards). For the albums, Nocturnes and Reflections (which also feature additional instruments), Chadburn created the arrangements and scored the parts played by the other musicians. For the album, Keys of Light, Chadburn included one piano improvisation on James Pankow's "Colour My World," while composing and orchestrating the remainder of the album, performing it entirely himself using a Yamaha 7' grand piano, a Kurzweil PC3K8 synthesizer, and East West Symphonic Orchestra (sound library).
Keys of Light is Dan Chadburn’s fifth album and is currently on the ballot for the 58th Grammy Awards in the category of "Best New Age Album." Upon its release, Keys of Light debuted in the Top 100 Zone Music Reporter chart (the industry standard for measuring radio airplay worldwide), currently at #7. The album also debuted at #1 on the One World Music Radio chart for October, 2015 (OWMR is the largest network of programming in Europe playing New Age/Ambient/World music). Keys of Light, solo piano, Reflections, Nocturnes and Whispers the Falling Snow are available at his website (DanChadburn.com) and as CDs and digital downloads at a variety of online sales sites including CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes, eMusic and many others. Nocturnes reached #8 on the Top 100 Zone Music Reporter chart and stayed on the chart for nine months. Whispers the Falling Snow debuted at #7, staying on the ZMR Top 100 chart for multiple months. Whispers the Falling Snow was nominated as ZMR's Top Solo Piano album of 2014. Additionally, Reviews New Age selected it as one of the Top 10 holiday recordings worldwide for 2014. Both Nocturnes and Whispers the Falling Snow were nominated as best recordings ("Piano with Instrumentation" and "Solo Piano" categories, respectively) for the One World Music Radio Awards in June, 2015.
Over the years Chadburn has been inspired by the music of John Williams, Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Claude Debussy, Frederic Chopin, Sergei Prokofiev, Itzhak Perlman, Vladimir Ashkenazy, John Barry, George Winston, Mary Ann Redmond, and Tom Nichols.