Longy School of Music of Bard College has named acclaimed composer, musician, educator, and activist Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) as the school’s first-ever Artist Activist-in-Residence. DBR brings over two decades of experience as a musician and activist to the yearlong position.
Renowned for chamber, orchestral, and operatic compositions that blend electronic and African American influences, DBR has performed on American Idol and National Public Radio, worked with artists as varied as Lady Gaga and Philip Glass, and was nominated for a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Musical Composition for his collaborations with ESPN. He has also earned international recognition for his collaborations with Carnegie Hall, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and the Sydney Opera House. Described as an “omnivorous” artist by The New York Times, his work centers Black political resistance and draws heavily from his background as an American with Haitian roots.
The role of Artist Activist-in-Residence is designed to help Longy students develop as musician-activists—exploring musicianship in social contexts, bending genres, and probing what it means to be a teaching artist in today’s times. DBR is uniquely suited to launch this new residency at Longy; over the course of his long career as a musician and activist, he has embodied the school’s commitment to music as social change.
“We are incredibly excited for DBR to join our community,” says Longy President Karen Zorn. “Students come to Longy eager to learn how to use music to make a difference in the world. DBR’s unique perspective and thoughtful approaches to artistry and audience engagement will inspire our students to envision new avenues for their own careers—using art as a catalyst for meaningful social change.”
In his role, DBR will lead and perform in a series of seminars and performances throughout the academic year—serving as a thought leader, artistic advisor, and collaborator with students, teachers, and other artists-in-residence.
“My work is committed toward developing a shared radical morality, and I am excited to show Longy students how music can ask questions of its audience and practitioners and inspire new ways of thinking, supply relief, and provide new opportunities,” DBR says. “Both Longy and I want to keep the conversation going between the conservatory and the wider world, and I am very excited to work with such a talented group of students from so many different backgrounds.”
DBR Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes