Daniel Abrahams

Daniel Abrahams is in his 14th year as director of Instrumental Music at William Jennings Bryan Senior High School in Omaha, Nebraska where he conducts the band and orchestra.

A native of Philadelphia, Mr. Abrahams holds degrees from Temple University and the University of Nebraska at Omaha and is a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Shenandoah University. There, he studied music education with Darla Hanley and David Zerull. He has studied conducting with Arthur Chodoroff, James Saker and Cina Crissara. In addition, he has attended seminars and workshops with Frank Battisti, Major Mark Peterson, Margaret Hillis, Larry Blocher and Victor Markovich. He was a euphonium student of Charles Villarubia (Rhythm and Brass) and Jay Krush (Chestnut Brass Company) and studied cello with David Low, formerly of the Omaha Symphony.

As a music educator, Daniel Abrahams was the Inaugural recipient of the Jupiter Band Instrument Teaching Music Award for Excellence in Concert Band presented by the Music Educators National Conference (MENC). He has presented seminars at the national meetings of the Music Educators National Conference (MENC) and recently presented at the Second European Conference on Developmental Psychology of Music at Roehampton University, London. There he described how he integrates language literacy strategies from the literature on differentiated instruction and reciprocal teaching to enhance his students’ abilities to understand the music they are playing always with the goal of empowering musicianship. On this topic, he has taught seminars at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil and at the Conservatorio Brasiliero de Musica in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In addition, he contributed a chapter on these ideas in the text, Teaching Music in the Urban Classroom published by MENC in partnership with Rowman and Littlefield.

Abrahams made his first guest conducting appearance in March 2001, where he conducted the Omaha All City Middle School Band. At Bryan High School his concert band has received many honors at district, state and national festivals. Concurrent to his teaching at Bryan High School, he has also taught instrumental music at Gilder and Chandler View Elementary Schools and is the former director of bands at Division Avenue Senior High School in Levittown, New York.

Committed to the performance of music by living composers, Mr. Abrahams founded the Bryan High School New Music Project to commission new works for high school bands. In 1999 the band commissioned and premiered Entebbe Variations by local composer Keith Davis. Since its first performance, the piece has been played by the United States Air Force Heartland of America Band, the University of Nebraska at Omaha Wind Ensemble, the Southwest Texas State University Band, and the Nebraska Wind Symphony and is published by Wengert -Jones. In May 2001, the Bryan Band performed the world premier of Above All Others, a commission for the Bryan Band by New Jersey composer, Joel Phillips. In Minneapolis, Abrahams presented a session at the MENC national meeting titled, “The Composer Meets the Performer” where he and Phillips discussed the commissioning project.

Believing that music teachers must remain performing musicians, Mr. Abrahams was a member of the Nebraska Wind Symphony where he served on the Board of Directors. As a performer on euphonium, he has played concerts in Beijing, Shanghai, Montreal, Boston and Philadelphia and appears on recordings with the Temple University Wind Symphony on the Toshiba/EMI label. With Jay Krush, he organized the first Philadelphia Tuba Christmas, now a traditional holiday musical event.