Bay Area Native Daniel Highman has had a diverse and exciting musical life. Growing up in San Mateo, California he began his music studies on the piano at the age of nine. Soon after this he added guitar and string bass to his musical activities. Throughout childhood he was fortunate to have opportunities to play in many different types of musical ensembles: including rock bands, orchestras, and jazz groups.
His interest in classical music led him to study music composition at the University of Southern California. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with an Bachelor of Music in Composition in 2002. His major teachers at USC included Stephen Hartke, Donald Crockett, and Frank Ticheli. After this, he continued his education at Indiana University, Bloomington. He completed a Master of Music in Composition in 2004 and a Doctor of Music in Composition in 2009. Some of his teachers at Indiana University included P. Q. Phan and Sven-David Sandstrom.
Aside from his university studies, Daniel was selected to be a fellow for the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival in 2008.
During his time at Indiana University Daniel developed an interest in West African music that led him to move to Ghana after his graduation. While in Accra, Daniel studied Ghanaian drumming with Apetsi Kwaku Anenuney and Prosper Atsu Ablordy at the Institute for African Studies at the University of Ghana, Accra.
Since returning to the Bay Area in 2010 Daniel has been an active teacher and performer. He taught piano for a year at the Happy Mozart School in San Mateo. After this he joined the music faculty at California State University East Bay as a lecturer for six-and-a-half years. During this time, he taught composition, theory, history, ethnomusicology, musicianship, music appreciation, and piano performance. He also directed the African Drumming Ensemble for four years. As a performer he played with the indie rock group Naked Fiction, and worked in the Bay Area tango community as the pianist for Seth Asarnow y Su Sexteto Tipico.
This tango orchestra was widely regarded as the premier orchestra for Argentine Tango in the United States.
In 2018 Daniel moved to Shanghai, China to teach Music and English at Jiaxing Nanhu Alliance Bilingual School. This provided a wonderful opportunity to share the joy of music with many young Chinese students.
Currently Daniel maintains a private music studio and works as the pianist and organist at the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in San Carlos. He is very excited about the opportunity to work at the Hunter School of Music and share his love of music and learning!