Music by
DANIEL DORFF

MUSIC FOR CHILDREN'S CONCERTS

THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE & OTHER TALES is available at amazon.com and other leading retailers!

Rossen Milanov conducts the Symphony in C, featuring Ann Crumb and Ukee Washington as narrators in Blast Off!, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Billy and the Carnival, and Three Fun Fables (including The Fox and the Crow, The Dog and his Reflection, and The Tortoise and the Hare).

Dorff's narrated stories entertain adults as well as children and are frequently performed at concerts around the world, while introducing young listeners to the sounds of an orchestra. Perfect for holiday and birthday gifts, music education classes, and plain old enjoyment!

More information about this CD
Fanfare Magazine review of the CD

NARRATED CHILDREN'S STORIES
A Treeful of Monkeys for Narrator and Orchestra (or Mixed Quintet)

Duration: c. 7½'
Based on the African folk tale that inspired "Caps For Sale."

INSTRUMENTATION: Narrator, 1(=Picc)111 1110, Harp, 1-2 Perc, Strings
QUINTET SCORING: Narrator, Clarinet, Horn, Violin, Percussion, and Piano

COMMISSIONED (for Narrator and Mixed Quintet) by the Philadelphia Orchestra for its Sound All Around series, May 2015.
ORCHESTRAL VERSION is available for premiere.

View the complete orchestral score
View the complete quintet score

 

Billy and the Carnival: A Children's Guide to Musical Instruments
for Narrator and Orchestra

Duration: c. 14'
Narrated guide to instruments based on an original story - a boy goes to his local park and is surprised to meet musicians coming to a concert there. As he meets musicians they play their instruments, so demonstrations of each instrument fit the story.

INSTRUMENTATION: Narrator, 2(2nd dbl.Picc)222 2210 2-3Perc Strings

COMMISSIONED and PREMIERED by Sacramento Symphony (26 performances)
PERFORMANCES INCLUDE the Pittsburgh Symphony.
AVAILABLE on rental from Theodore Presser Company.
RECORDED on Bridge Records by Symphony In C conducted by Rossen Milanov, featuring Ukee Washington as narrator.

YOUTUBE of the Bridge Records CD
PROGRAM NOTES
View the complete orchestra score


 

Blast Off! for Narrator and Orchestra

Duration: c. 9½'
Travelogue of a child's journey to outer space - episodes feature various sections of the orchestra to add music educational value.

INSTRUMENTATION: 2(Picc)2(EH)22(Cb n)-4331 Timp 3Perc Hp Strings

COMMISSIONED by Lockheed Martin and the Haddonfield Symphony for NASA Astronaut Kenneth Reightler, Jr. to narrate the PREMIERE, Daniel Hege conducting.
PERFORMANCES also include Philadelphia Orchestra and many others.
SCORE LAUNCHED INTO SPACE on the 100th Space Shuttle!
TEACHING/CURRICULUM USE: Serves as a story-based introduction to the characteristic sounds of each family of orchestra instruments. Also ties in with interdisciplinary learning. Story is approved by NASA Astronauts!
FEATURED on League of American Orchestra's www.playmusic.org educational website.
AVAILABLE on rental from Theodore Presser Company.
RECORDED on Bridge Records by Symphony In C conducted by Rossen Milanov, featuring Ukee Washington as narrator.

YOUTUBE of the Bridge Records CD
PROGRAM NOTES
View the complete orchestra score


Goldilocks and the Three Bears for Narrator and Orchestra

Duration: c. 8'
A traditional telling that highlights small-medium-large contrasts and varying repetitions in the story; at the end Goldilocks apologizes for her actions and cooks the bears' first-ever pancake breakfast.

INSTRUMENTATION: Narrator, 1111 111(Bass)0 1-2Perc Hp Strings
ALSO AVAILABLE for Narrator and Octet: Flute, Clarinet, Bass Trombone, Harp, 1 Percussion, Violin, Cello, and Bass

COMMISSIONED (as an octet) by the Minnesota Orchestra Volunteer Association. OCTET PREMIERED by the Minnesota Orchestra's Kinder Konzerts with 51 performances in 2000-2001, encored for 50 performances in 2006-07.
ORCHESTRAL PREMIERE by the Susquehanna Symphony conducted by Sheldon Bair, December 2001. Subsequent performances include the Philadelphia Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival, Parlance Chamber Concerts, and Rochester Philharmonic.
TEACHING/CURRICULUM USE: Serves as a story-based way to introduce variations on recurring patterns, and to show the correlation between small-medium-large and high-medium-low sounds.
AVAILABLE on rental from Theodore Presser Company; score available for sale.
RECORDED on Bridge Records (octet version) by Symphony In C conducted by Rossen Milanov, featuring Ann Crumb as narrator.

YOUTUBE of the Bridge Records CD
PROGRAM NOTES
View the complete octet score

View the complete orchestra score

Old MacDonald Had an Orchestra
for Narrator with Oboe, Trombone, Percussion, Cello, and Piano
Duration: c. 6'
Old MacDonald enjoyed those sounds on his farm so much that he got himself an orchestra. Using the familiar song, young listeners learn what each instrument sounds like and also hear variations on the song.

COMMISSIONED by the Philadelphia Orchestra for its Sound All Around series, May 2013.

Take the Orchestra Out to the Ballgame for Narrator with Orchestra (or Mixed Quintet)
Duration: c. 5'
Through musical and mood variations on "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," the narrator tells a story of your local orchestra's baseball team playing against the nearest professional team.

QUINTET VERSION: English Horn, Trumpet, Percussion, Bass, and Piano
COMMISSIONED by the Philadelphia Orchestra for its Sound All Around series, March 2003.
OTHER QUINTET PERFORMANCES include Aspen Music Festival.
AVAILABLE from your favorite sheet music dealer, or direct from Presser.
TEACHING/CURRICULUM USE: Introduces "variations" by using a familiar theme transformed through various moods, and featuring characteristic instrumental solos on the melody.

ORCHESTRA VERSION
INSTRUMENTATION: 1(Picc)111 1110 1Perc Strings.
AVAILABLE on rental from Theodore Presser Company; score available for sale.
PREMIERE of orchestra version by Brazos Valley Symphony, January 23, 2012, Marcelo Bussiki conducting.

 

The Adventures of Mary's Little Lamb for Narrator and Mixed Quintet

Duration: c. 3½'
Through musical and mood variations on "Mary Had a Little Lamb," the narrator tells a story about Mary's little lamb, introducing the concept of variations on a familiar theme to young listeners.

QUINTET VERSION A: Contrabassoon, Horn, Violin, Viola, and Piano
COMMISSIONED by the Philadelphia Orchestra for its Sound All Around series, May 2002.
AVAILABLE from your favorite sheet music dealer, or direct from Presser.

QUINTET VERSION B: Bassoon, Trombone, Violin, Percussion, and Piano
COMMISSIONED by the Philadelphia Orchestra for its Sound All Around series, April 2006.
AVAILABLE from your favorite sheet music dealer, or direct from Presser.

 
The Bear Went Under the Mountain
for Narrator with Flute/Piccolo, Bass Trombone, Cello, Percussion, and Piano
Duration: c. 5'
Through musical and mood variations on "The Bear Went Over the Mountain," the narrator tells a story with a twist on the familiar song, introducing the concept of variations on a familiar theme to young listeners.

COMMISSIONED by the Philadelphia Orchestra for its Sound All Around series, April 2004.
PERFORMANCES also include the Aspen Music Festival.
AVAILABLE from your favorite sheet music dealer, or direct from Presser.

 


2010 performance at Aspen Music Festival
all-Dorff children's concert

 

The Three Little Pigs  for Narrator, Violin, and Cello
Duration: c. 10½'
The familiar story is told with lots of special effects, and with leitmotives identifying each of the pigs and the wolf, to illustrate variations on recurring patterns. A perfect story for illustrating variations on a theme.

COMMISSIONED by the American Composers Forum community partnerships for the Auricolae ensemble and Strings in the Schools.
PERFORMANCES have included outreach programs of the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Aspen Music Festival.
AVAILABLE from your favorite sheet music dealer, or direct from Presser.

RECORDED on New Focus Recordings by the Auricolae ensemble.
PROGRAM NOTES

 
The Tortoise and the Hare for Narrator and Orchestra (or Mixed Octet)
Duration: c. 5½'
A comical telling of the Aesop fable, featuring Contrabassoon and Clarinet as the Tortoise and the Hare. Themes are exaggeratedly low/slow and high/fast to illustrate contrasts in music.
This is a stand-alone movement taken from
Three Fun Fables (see below).

OCTET VERSION: Clarinet, Contrabassoon, Trumpet, Trombone, Violin, Bass, Percussion, Harp
COMMISSIONED by the Minnesota Orchestra Volunteer Association for Kinder Konzerts. PREMIERED with 52 performances in the 1996-97 season; encored for 50 performances in the 2003-04 season, and another 48 in the 2010-11 season.
OCTET PERFORMANCES also include the Chicago Pro Musica, Aspen Music Festival, and Parlance Chamber Concerts (members of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra).
AVAILABLE on rental from Lauren Keiser (Southern) Music.
TEACHING/CURRICULUM USE: A very clear illustration of "opposites" in music, making clear contrasts between the low and slow tortoise (contrabassoon) and high, fast hare (clarinet). Frequently used for this purpose in educational concerts.
RECORDED on Bridge Records by Symphony In C conducted by Rossen Milanov, featuring Ann Crumb as narrator.
Instrumentation makes this a perfect companion for L'Histoire du Soldat performances.

YOUTUBE of the Bridge CD (octet scoring)
PROGRAM NOTES

ORCHESTRA VERSION
INSTRUMENTATION: 1112(Cbn) 1110 Hp 1-2 Perc Strings
PREMIERED by Haddonfield Symphony featuring Olympic track star Carl Lewis as narrator, conducted by Daniel Hege.
PERFORMANCES include Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony (over 30 performances), Detroit Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, and many others.
AVAILABLE on rental from Lauren Keiser (Southern) Music.
AUDIO EXCERPT from Carl Lewis's premiere with the Haddonfield Symphony
PROGRAM NOTES

 
  Daniel Dorff shaking hands with Olympic
  track star Carl Lewis, narrator for the
  orchestral premiere of The Tortoise and the Hare

 
  CD includes:
     BILLY AND THE CARNIVAL
     BLAST OFF!
     GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS
     THREE FUN FABLES

Three Fun Fables for Narrator and Orchestra (or Mixed Octet)   
Duration: c. 11'
Each character is portrayed by an instrument, allowing for pre-concert illustrations to help instrument recognition, musical contrasts, and familiarity with the story and music.

1. The Fox and the Crow (features Trumpet and Bass)
2. The Dog and His Reflection (features Trombone and Violin/Harp/Percussion)
3. The Tortoise and the Hare (features Contrabassoon and Clarinet)

OCTET VERSION: Clarinet, Contrabassoon, Trumpet, Trombone, Violin, Bass, Percussion, Harp
COMMISSIONED by the Minnesota Orchestra Volunteer Association for Kinder Konzerts. PREMIERED by the Minnesota Orchestra's Kinder Konzerts with 52 performances in the 1996-97 season; encored for 50 performances in the 2003-04 season, and another 48 in the 2010-11 season.
OCTET PERFORMANCES also include the Chicago Pro Musica, Aspen Music Festival, and Parlance Chamber Concerts (members of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra).
AVAILABLE on rental from Lauren Keiser Music.
TEACHING/CURRICULUM USE: Three familiar stories use humor, irony, and contrast, to illustrate "opposites" in music, and introduce characteristic sounds and moods of the instruments.
RECORDED on Bridge Records by Symphony In C conducted by Rossen Milanov, featuring Ann Crumb as narrator9.
Instrumentation makes this a perfect companion for L'Histoire du Soldat performances.

YOUTUBE of The Fox and the Crow
YOUTUBE of The Dog and his Reflection
YOUTUBE of The Tortoise and the Hare
PROGRAM NOTES

"The hit of the show... more fun for adults than children"
          – Donald Peck, principal flute Chicago Symphony, April 19, 2001

ORCHESTRA VERSION
INSTRUMENTATION: 1112(Cbn) 1110 Hp 1-2Perc Strings.
COMMISSIONED by the Philadelphia Orchestra. PREMIERED by the Philadelphia Orchestra April 29, 2000 with Music Director Wolfgang Sawallisch conducting, Susan Spafford narrating.
AVAILABLE on rental from Lauren Keiser Music.
"I was very pleased to have the opportunity to conduct this work in a Philadelphia Orchestra Family Concert in April of 2000. Mr. Dorff's work is exciting, engaging, and funny for the children, as well as containing some very good learning experiences from the wonderful Aesop's fables. It is very skillfully written for the orchestra, and uses the instruments in a most effective way. I can recommend this work with great enthusiasm for a Family or Children's Concert."

          – Wolfgang Sawallisch, Music Director, Philadelphia Orchestra


  Letter from Philadelphia Orchestra's Music Director
Wolfgang Sawallisch following his premiere of
the orchestral version of
Three Fun Fables

Trees (after the poem by Joyce Kilmer) for solo Flute with narration
Duration: c. 5'

COMPOSED for Tiffany Holmes
PREMIERED by Tiffany Holmes flute and Cindy Anne Broz narrator, February 2009, Mid-Atlantic Flute Fair, Reston VA.
AVAILABLE from your favorite sheet music dealer or direct from Presser.

YOUTUBE Performance by Ruth Washington Mayhew, flute and narration
PROGRAM NOTES

INSTRUMENTAL  
Philly Rhapsody for Orchestra
Duration: c. 11'
Homage to The Sound of Philadelphia (Philly International Records' rhythm & blues style) and "The Philadelphia Sound" of the Philadelphia Orchestra, as a hybrid of these two traditions.

INSTRUMENTATION: 3(Picc)23(Bcl)2 4331 Pno Hp DrumSet 3Perc (no Timp) Strings
         [Ob2, Bn2, Hns3-4 may be omitted].

COMMISSIONED by Network for New Music for Philadelphia's Creative and Performing Arts H.S.

View the complete score

 

Allegro Volante for Solo Xylophone and Orchestra (or with Band or Piano)

Duration: c. 4½'
A dazzling showpiece in the style of a Russian galop, with jazzy American harmonies; Movement 3 from Concerto for Solo Percussion and Orchestra.

INSTRUMENTATION: 2(Picc)222 4331 Timp 3Perc Hp Strings

PREMIERED by Alan Gilbert conducting the Haddonfield Symphony (now Symphony in C); Dean Witten solo xylophone.
Available on rental from Theodore Presser Company.
AUDIO EXCERPT from the premiere
PROGRAM NOTES

View the complete orchestra score (Mvt. 3 begins at page 66)

"An entertaining piece, exceptionally well received by the audience."
         – Penn Sounds (Sigal), Winter 1993.

 

Concerto for Contrabassoon with Clarinet, Horn, and Strings
Duration: c. 13'
Excerpts have been used at youth concerts by the Louisville Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony, and other ensembles.

COMMISSIONED by the Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia for contrabassoonist Norman Spielberg.
PREMIERED November 3, 1991 by Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Norman Spielberg contrabassoon; James Freeman guest conductor.
PERFORMANCES include the 2010 IDRS Convention orchestra gala; Colorado Symphony; Louisville Orchestra, and many others.
Orchestral parts are available on rental from Presser.

AUDIO EXCERPTS: Roger Soren's performance with the Haddonfield Symphony, conducted by Daniel Hege:
            from Mvt. 1
            from Mvt. 2
            from Mvt. 3
PROGRAM NOTES
View the complete orchestra score

"Repertory for the contrabassoon has been significantly enhanced of late by the addition of concertos by Daniel Dorff..."
            –MLA Notes (Christopher Weait), December 1993.
"An excellent new concerto... in a very listenable and audience-appealing style. Dorff has written a number of fine compositions and has crafted here an excellent new work for the contrabassoonist."
            –The Double Reed (Ron Klimko), Spring 1993.
"(The concert) was jammed with people who were obviously pleased they were there. A local composer with a growing international reputation presented a world premiere that deserved the response the audience gave it.
            – Philadelphia Welcomat (Purdom), November 13, 1991.
"This is a work that could effectively introduce the rarely heard solo contrabassoon to audiences of any age or experience. It has the happy characteristic of being easily understood. Performers will appreciate its professionally clear notation and effective orchestration."
            –MLA Notes (Christopher Weait), March 1995.
"I'm sure all contrabassoon players will treasure this addition to their ... repertoire."
            –Sol Schoenbach, former principal Bassoon, Philadelphia Orchestra


 

 

 

 

 

   Daniel Hege, Daniel Dorff, Roger Soren
   following their Haddonfield Symphony performance.

Summer Solstice for Clarinet and String Orchestra, Movement 3 jazz waltz

Duration of Mvt. 3: c. 5'
This final movement stands on its own as a jazz waltz, ideal for teen and youth concerts.

PERFORMANCES have also included the Chicago Symphony's John Yeh, and Colorado Symphony's Bil Jackson in Colorado's "Up Close and Musical" youth concerts.
AVAILABLE (clarinet with piano reduction) from your favorite sheet music dealer or direct from Presser.
(Orchestra score and parts on rental.)

AUDIO EXCERPT: John Yeh with the Haddonfield Symphony, conducted by Alan Gilbert
PROGRAM NOTES


John Yeh and Alan Gilbert applauding the composer 
after their performance.

Sunburst for Solo Violin with String Orchestra

Duration: c. 3'

COMMISSIONED and PREMIERED by the Colorado Symphony's Up Close and Musical series for 20-30 performances (1998-2000 seasons), to demonstrate sounds and colors of the violin.
PERFORMANCES include Nashville Symphony
AVAILABLE on rental from Theodore Presser Company.

 

OPERA FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES

Stone Soup: An Operatic Fable in One Act
for SATB Soloists, optional Chorus, and Piano (or Chamber Orchestra)

Duration: c. 35'
A light-hearted comical interpretation of the fable, in which a Solider (T.) is hungry and lost, but with the help of children and Mayor (A.), he convinces the Vegetable Lady (S.) and Butcher (B.) to contribute food to his soup. The musical refrain "It Takes All Kinds of People to Make Up a Happy Town" is echoed by the story's use of all kinds of food to make the most delicious Stone Soup, and to celebrate community and diversity.

INSTRUMENTATION: 1111-1110 Pno Hp 1Perc Strings (may be solo or section)

COMMISSIONED by Young Audiences' Philadelphia chapter for ongoing in-school visits — continuous run for 20 seasons, over 1000 performances.
ALSO PERFORMED by the Atlanta Opera 50 times, 2012-13 season.
AVAILABLE (piano-vocal score) from your favorite sheet music dealer or direct from Presser.
(Orchestral version on rental from Presser.)

PROGRAM NOTES and SYNOPSIS

Scenes from The Atlanta Opera 2012-13 production



 
last updated March 14, 2020
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