Ep 86-Daniel Felsenfeld on Freelancing & The Portfolio Life

Ep 86-Daniel Felsenfeld on Freelancing & The Portfolio Life

Daniel Felsenfeld is a composer of operas, orchestral music, liturgical music, solo works, vocal chamber music and song cycles, chamber music, and even arrangements for the occasional pop or hip-hop act. As a pathological reader, he collaborates as often as possible with living writers, creating works that are literary, theatrical, and that run from the extremely adult in content to pieces for children.


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Composer Daniel Felsenfeld discusses the portfolio life and how to make it work as a freelancing composer.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Sharon Harms
  • Adult-content opera
  • Richard Strauss, “To be a composer is to oversee your own world of beauty.”
  • Pushing boundaries
  • Musical pluralism
  • Listening in secret
  • Understanding different musical expressions
  • Freelancing
  • Making it work
  • Weird things happen in freelancing
  • Hustling
  • Not winning grants & awards
  • Whitney George
  • Curiosity Cabinet
  • Music on the fringe
  • Paying the bills
  • Multiple sources of income—a portfolio life
  • Doing four things to make ends meet
  • Making a living
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Making quality music is the first priority
  • There is no general audience
  • Being professional
  • Helping others
  • New Music Gathering


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