Daniel Kobialka is a recognized authority on contemporary
music, including the extraordinary variety of sounds from
other musical cultures and styles, both acoustic and electronic.
He collaborated with Zeta Music Systems in
the creation of the highly expansive and expressive
electronic violin which he plays on this album.
The Zeta Polyphonic Violin, bearing Daniel’s
imprint, is a magnificent instrument, with
the wonderful ability to be used with MIDI devices in the exploration of many different musical sounds and
textures. On this album, Daniel also plays on a very beautiful Italian acoustic violin, the
same instrument on which he played the American
premiere performancesof Toru Takemitsu’s “Far calls...
Coming far!”with the San Francisco Symphony.
Daniel Kobialka, violinist & composer
World-renowned violinist Daniel Kobialka embraces both the classic and the avant-garde in his search to create sounds that enliven and heal. Dr. Bernie Siegel states, “I found years ago that music creates a healing environment… I find Kobialka’s to be the best available.”
A Lifetime of Achievement
Kobialka holds a unique place in the world of music. Clearly a prodigy, an accomplished and creative performer, Kobialka’s interest in contemporary music was sparked while he was a boy. His father played violin with the Stradivarius String Quartet, and the household was filled with music, from Beethoven to Bartok and Shoenberg. Kobialka was the founding concertmaster and soloist at the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, where he played alongside John Adams, one of his high school friends who is now regarded as one of the foremost contemporary composers of our time. Other important relationships that influenced Kobialka’s musical talents include such legendary musicians and composers as Lou Harrison, Harry Partch, Vivian Fine and Henry Brant. “A sensitive and intelligent performer with a natural gift for his instrument.” Aaron Copland
At age 15 he made his concert debut at Carnegie Hall, and in the same year appeared as a soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Four years later, he made is critically acclaimed recital debut at Carnegie Hall. A graduate of the Hartt College of Music, University of Hartford, Kobialka received his master’s degree and Doctorate of Musical Arts from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He is a professor of music at San Francisco State University. His contributions to education over the past three decades have given him professorships at Catholic University of America, California State Universities of San Francisco and Hayward, as well as the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Kobialka’s concept of spacial music began to take shape. “My focus is to further develop music that builds on the concepts of the ancients---Pythagoras most influences my thinking. It is time to incorporate non-Western tonalities, such as the musical approaches of Japan and Java into our sounds. I want to make spacial music that utilizes the unique characteristics of the venue to best advantage. I want to create music that surrounds and envelopes, that intensely and accurately elicits an enlivening response in the listener. It is my greatest desire that when you hear my music, you are soothed, you feel joyfully alive.”
Kobialka pioneered the development of the Zeta Polyphonic violin, a MIDI synthony instrument that can be played—and heard—in a very large space. The world premier of Kobialka’s Concerto for the Zeta-Polyphonic Electronic Violin, commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony, was performed March 1991.
Kobialka is currently composing a trilogy with the famous composer-acoustician Loren Rush, and composer-pianist Jan Mattox, of the “Good Sounds Foundation.” The trilogy is based on the theories of Pythagoras with tempered instruments and tuned pianos within his 5 and 7 systems of tuning.
Kobialka has commissioned over 30 works from such composers as Pulitzer Prize winners Charles Wuorinen, William Bolcom, and Wayne Peterson. Kobialka has premiered both solo works and concertos for violin, including Ben Weber’s Violin Concerto, dedicated to him, with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under Robert Shaw. With the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, he gave both the American premiere of Toru Takemitsu’s “Far Calls, Coming Far,” and the world premiere of Charles Wuorinine’s “Rhapsody,” a work written especially for Kobialka. Musical America wrote, “With de Waart conducting, Kobialka played the kind of heart-and-soul, totally secure performance composers dream about but all too rarely get to hear.”
He premiered Henry Brant’s Litany of Tides with the San Jose Symphony and George Barati’s Violin Concerto with the Santa Cruz Symphony. Other composers who have written and dedicated works for Kobialka include George Rochberg, Meyer Kupferman, Olou Harrison, Vivian Fine, Henry Brant, Fred Fox, Arthur Custer, Theodore Antoniou, Marta Ptaszynska, and Benjamin Lees. Kobialka served as concertmaster for the premier of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, which opened in the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Prompting Bernstein to state, “ Kobialka is a musician of unusual strength and devotion.”
Kobialka is widely sought after internationally as a performer and lecturer, as well as composer. He has performed at major events in Europe, Taiwan and Japan where his recordings are best sellers. The Japanese government awarded him a Medium Term Grant to study traditional and contemporary music. During this same period Kobialka performed a newly commissioned work of Benjamin Lees, Sonata No.2 for Violin and Piano, the world premiere a the International Cultural Center in Tokyo. He also gave a lecture recital at the Fukushima Music Arts Festival. One of his most recent appearances was documented on a commercial video released by Prem Promotion Ltd. Of Tokyo, Japan. Dr. Aiyoshi Kawahata, states, “The gentle, sweet melodies pulsing form your music relaxes my heart and fills my mind with happiness.”
The New York Times Best Recordings List included Kobialka’s Autumn Beyond, coupled with Henry Brant’s Solar Moth.. Many of his other recordings have become perennial best sellers in both the classical and healing music markets. In order to freely pursue his own interpretations of the classics, as well as his profound interest in more avant-garde music, Kobialka founded his own record label, LiSem Inc. which has sold millions since its inception in 1981.
Kobialka’s music is the core of a series of studies linking sound with CAM, complimentary and alternative medicine for health and healing. At the center of Kobialka’s focus is the rejuvenative power of music. He has led didactic and interactive workshops and seminars, traveled the world bringing his violin virtuosity to hospitals from Beijing, China to Plainville Ohio, and recorded music for meditation and guidance with alternative healing pioneers including Joan Boreysenko and Bernie Siegel. “If you are seeking healing, inspiration or spiritual fulfillment, you will discover in Kobialka the transformative power of music,” Larry Dossey, M.D.
Kobialka has been Principal 2nd Violinist with the San Francisco Symphony for over two decades, occupying the Dinner and Swig Families Chair. In addition to his many performances worldwide, he is the founding concertmaster and annual soloist with San Francisco’s annual Midsummer Mozart Festival Orchestra under George Cleve, with whom he has recorded Mozart’s Violin Concerto No 1. Michael Tilsen Thomas states, “Daniel Kobialka…brings to life music of the past, present and future, and communicates true joy.”