Music by


review of CONCERTINO, from Pan Magazine (review by Lisa Nelsen)
review of the Perennials CD and The Tortoise and the Hare CD, from Fanfare Magazine (review by David DeBoor Canfield)
review of the Perennials CD, from Fanfare Magazine (review by Lynn René Bayley)

review of the Perennials CD, from American Record Guide (review by Todd Gorman)
review of the Perennials CD, from The Flute View (review by Tammy Evans Yonce
review of the Perennials CD, from Flutist Quarterly (review by Francesca Arnone)
Fanfare Magazine feature article, by Peter Burwasser


April Whirlwind for Flute and Piano

"Great piece!! April Whirlwind has everything - lovely lyricism, a spontaneous spirit, and jazzy brilliance. I will look forward to sharing it with legions of students."
            -Jeanne Baxtresser, principal flute, New York Philharmonic, July 1998

"Delightful... an exuberant and joyful paean to Spring."
            -Sid Grolnic, Penn Sounds, Winter 1999

Concerto for Contrabassoon with Clarinet, Horn, and Strings

"[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."
           -Tom Purdom, Philadelphia Welcomat, 11/13/91

"I'm sure all contrabassoon players will treasure this addition to their ... repertoire."
           -Sol Schoenbach, former principal Bassoon, Philadelphia Orchestra, 6/92

"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."
            -Ronald Klimko, The Double Reed Journal, 3/93

"Repertory for the contrabassoon has been significantly enhanced of late by the addition of concertos by Daniel Dorff..."
            -Christopher Weait, MLA Notes, 12/93

"This is a work that could effectively introduce the rarely heard 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."
            -Christopher Weait, MLA Notes, 3/95  

Concerto for Solo Percussion and Orchestra

"Concerto for Solo Percussion and Orchestra is an excellent addition to the much-needed percussion concerto literature.  Its contrasting movements, challenging solo part, creative orchestration, accessibility to many players and visual interest makes this a worthwhile solo for those percussionists looking for a new percussion concerto."
        -John Beck of the Eastman School of Music, Percussive Notes (review of whole concerto), 8/96

"Congratulations to Daniel Dorff for supplying a worthy extension of his concerto for those looking for a recital-quality xylophone piece."
         -John Beck, Percussive Notes (review of Mvt 3, Allegro Volante, adapted for xylophone & piano), 10/96  

"An entertaining piece, exceptionally well received by the audience."
         -Eleonor Sigal, Penn Sounds (review of Mvt 3, Allegro Volante, adapted for xylophone & piano), Winter 1993

Dance Music for Mr. Mouse A Cartoon Ballet for Eb Clarinet and Piano

"Daniel Dorff has written a most attractive work for the often-neglected E-flat clarinet – at least when it comes to solo repertoire. As someone who held an orchestral position on E-flat some years ago it was great to be provoked into taking the piccolo clarinet out again after years of neglect. It really was fun to play through this piece. It's not particularly difficult for a professional player and would certainly add variety and color to a recital program. It does go up to altissimo A towards the end, so for non-E-flat players it will take a little while to get your chops in shape to play it. However, it certainly is worth the effort. The publisher describes it thus: "... using rock-infused themes and the squealing glory of the E-flat clarinet... this dance suite, which is at once entertaining, and also a striking recital work... setting the tale of an exuberant mouse dancing himself to an early demise."
        -Paul Roe, The Clarinet magazine, March 2015

Fantasy, Scherzo, and Nocturne for Saxophone Quartet
"One hopes that many college ensembles will add this interesting selection to the short list of American saxophone quartets."
           -Steve Mauk, MLA Notes, 9/79 
"The Fantasy is a lovely lyrical movement in medium tempo, followed by the fast, playful Scherzo. The slow Nocturne begins with a lovely duo for tenor and baritone saxophones. This is a dramatic and emotional movement... It's a good piece for both college students and professional players. The ensemble writing is excellent, with all four voices getting a chance to sing out. It is a remarkable work from such a young composer."
          -Susan Fancher, Saxophone Journal, September/October 2007

Fast Walk for Saxophone Quartet  

"This short, upbeat piece makes a terrific opener for a concert, or as the first piece after intermission."
          -Susan Fancher, Saxophone Journal, September/October 2007


Flash! for Piccolo and Piano (or Band)  

"Daniel Dorff's "Flash!" is a jazzy American-sounding piece with shades of Gershwin to my ears. It's a lot of fun to listen to and I imagine to play, and was at the time of the release of this CD being arranged for piccolo and wind orchestra."      
          -online review of Gudrun Hinze's CD, by Rosamund Plummer, (Australia)

Goldilocks and the Three Bears for Narrator and Mixed Octet or Orchestra

"An absolute delight!" 
        - Marvin Rosen, Classical Discoveries, WPRB-FM, February 20, 2008.

In A Deep Funk: Dance Set for Unaccompanied Contrabassoon 

Movement 2: "Twist Variations"
"Based on the popular dance from the 1960s, this is a fun piece for the audience as well as the accomplished contra player. A standard rock and roll chord progression is treated in a variety of ways melodically and rhythmically, with a few nods in the direction of Dave Brubeck and other jazz musicians as well. Although its duration is less than six minutes, the piece is quite grueling. The entire four-movement set is quite a blow at around twelve minutes! ... the piece really is a hoot for both the player up to the challenge, and for the audience."
           -Jon Beebe, The Double Reed, Vol. 26, No. 4 (2003) 

It Takes Four to Tango for Saxophone Quartet

"It is a wonderful little soprano saxophone feature. You could program this anywhere on a concert, either on its own or right after Fast Walk, for example. It can be played "straight" as written, or more inflected in a jazz style."
          -Susan Fancher, Saxophone Journal, September/October 2007

Lamentations for String Orchestra
"Worthy of the spotlight... the most interesting and sensitively performed on the concert... the composer should be heard from again.
            -Lesley Valdes, Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/27/87  

9 Walks Down 7th Avenue for Flute and Piano

"Daniel Dorff's 9 Walks Down 7th Avenue has more than a clever title going for it. While the title suggests New York and Gershwin or Bernstein, the music sounds more like Paris and Poulenc. It is witty and sophisticated music.
           -P.E.R., La Scene Musicale (Paris), December 2010 

Nocturne Caprice for solo Flute

"Daniel Dorff wrote his Nocturne-Caprice expressly for this event, and an express composition it was, with about three weeks separating the commission and the premiere. It is an admirable addition to the repertoire, structured in a circular manner, as inspired by Chopin Nocturnes. Dorff encompasses a number of stylistic gestures, starting with a bluesy motif that morphs into whole-tone rows and flashy arpeggios, before settling back into a sweet repose. The elements are well integrated and are set out with calm pacing. Stillman rendered the music with utter confidence and palpable expressiveness.
            -Peter Burwasser, Philadelphia City Paper, 11/6/02

Pachelbel's Christmas A Merry Melange for Brass Quintet

"This is a clever, original and amusing number which will add spice to the Christmas concert."
           -Winds Magazine (UK), Summer 1990 

Serenade to Eve, After Rodin for Flute and Guitar

"A really charming miniature."
           -Hubert Culot, Music Web (UK), January 2003 

Sonatine de Giverny for Piccolo and Piano

"Bravo! This is a wonderful piece.  The impressionist mood is so lovely and the piccolo fits into this environment beautifully.  I am delighted with this piece of music.  Congratulations - your piece makes me wish I still played piccolo."
            -Jeanne Baxtresser, former Principal Flute, New York Philharmonic, Oct 2000

"Daniel Dorff's Sonatine de Giverny is the first composition for piccolo and piano that is in the great tradition of the French School. Giverny will become the landmark composition for expressive French piccolo playing.  We are grateful for Dorff's fine effort. Giverny now becomes a musical standard which other composers must attain."
            -Jan Gippo, solo Piccolo, Saint Louis Symphony, May 2000  

"American composer Daniel Dorff wrote Sonatine de Giverny in three movements. Commissioned by a name familiar to the piccolo world, Jan Gippo, in 2000, it is a beautiful French-flavoured piece inspired by a visit to Monet's home and its famous gardens. The work contains much lovely writing for the piccolo and, although very challenging when in the high register, Gudrun produces a sweet and relaxed tone, making it easy to picture flowers, water, and birds in the delightful French setting of Giverny.
            -online review of Gudrun Hinze's CD, by Rosamund Plummer,

Summer Solstice for Clarinet and Strings  

"Summer Solstice is very pleasant music - light without being insubstantial, melodic without being obvious.  It has an invariably American sound."
            -Peter Dobrin, Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/2/94

"Summer Solstice opened with Arne Running's jazzy, dancing clarinet playing in front of the kind of American country fair music that makes you feel like someone should step out of the crowd and start dancing.  The slow movement was easy and full. The finale was sweet and driving.
            -Tom Purdom, Philadelphia Welcomat, 4/20/94

"Daniel Dorff's Summer Solstice was the palatable dessert, while mid-century music of... Schnittke was the experimental main course."
            -Monroe Levin, Jewish Exponent, 4/30/94

"Notable events of 1994 included the impressive premiere of Daniel Dorff's Summer Solstice."
           -Tom Purdom, Philadelphia Welcomat, 12/28/94

"Gave a distinctive contemporary accent to the Haddonfield Symphony's third program of the season... For those who brave the first storm of winter - and most did - there was much to enjoy...  Dorff's 18-minute piece cast a friendly glow with its jaunty rhythms and sunny musical themes.  Summer Solstice falls on the ears like the graceful caress of a warm day.  Superbly performed, the score radiated an old-fashioned charm.  The three-movement score is a gift for a superb soloist."
            -Robert Baxter, Camden Courier-Post, 2/10/97

"a delightful three-movement work for which the description "rollicking" is most often the apt word. a celebration of summer filled with bright harmonies and happy spirit."
            -Paul Somers, Classical New Jersey, 2/12/97

"Summer Solstice is lyrical and fresh as rainwater. [John] Yeh gave a bright turn to its tangled tunes and merry melodies and a subtly nuanced performance of the languid larghetto. His clarinet cut like a lean laser above the lush cohesive strings."
            - Dorothy Andries, Pioneer Press, March 1998

The Kiss (after the painting by Gustav Klimt) for Orchestra

"The performance encourages me to delve further into the music of the composer.... A world premiere from a relatively young yet established composer is always thrilling, especially when the music is as enjoyable as that of the orchestra's composer-in-residence, Daniel Dorff... The performance was stunning perhaps because the musicians seemed to be enthusiastic about the score.  This certainly reflects well on the composer.  The audience clearly felt and responded to the music.... I was delighted to hear such unabashed melodic writing."
           -Classical New Jersey, 3/7/02

The Year of the Rabbit for Flute Quartet or Ensemble

"Daniel Dorff always pleases and his The Year of the Rabbit... did not disappoint. Dorff is deeply musical, eschews rhetoric, and this piece for eight flutes was charming and unaffected."
           -Lou Camp, Penn Sounds, Summer 1999 

Three Dance Etudes for Marimba Duo or Ensemble

"highly-appealing, vigorous... coloristic, lively dances exploited the instrument's best qualities."
           -Michael Kimmelman, Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/11/85    

The Tortoise and the Hare & Other Tales CD of collected works for young listeners

"Composer Daniel Dorff was asked to compose music for a series of shows that would cover the joy of various children's fairy tales and stories. The Tortoise and The Hare & Other Tales (Bridge) is a CD that honors his work and the stories that have excited children for decades, and does so by utilizing a full orchestra as well as smaller groups. "Blast Off!" and "Billy And The Carnival" are the pieces with full orchestral arrangements, both featuring narration from Ukee Washington, a news anchor on Philadelphia's CBS3. When he asks the listeners if they ever dreamed of being able to fly into outer space, one can imagine a child feeling as excited about the possibility as they are hearing Washington, perhaps believing he may have been someone to take flight as well. Dorff's music steadily shows the anticipation of that flight before eventually heading beyond the atmosphere, and I'm sure Washington had a lot of fun doing this.

Actress Ann Crumb handles the narration for "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" and "Three Fun Fables," these accompanied by smaller orchestras. For those who may know her for her singing (she was the vocalist on a double CD which displayed her father's work, Complete Crumb Edition, Volume Ten (her father being composer George Crumb), you will no doubt be delighted by her spoken performances here, especially in "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." Again, the music in these pieces is enthusiastic, and hopefully the listener will be moved and remember these versions of the stories when they grow up. For the adult, I think it's nice to hear these stories done in a manner that isn't dated. It reveals the power of classical music, and of course the beauty and mystery of the human voice, all meant to prepare a child for the big world they will become a part of when it is their time."

Three Fun Fables for Narrator and Orchestra


"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

            - Ted Shen, Chicago Sun-Times, 4/12/01

"the hit of the show. more fun for adults than children"
          - Donald Peck, principal flute Chicago Symphony, 4/19/01

Variations on "America"  (Charles Ives) arranged for Flute and Piano

"The arrangement is quite faithful to the Ives score, and Dorff expertly altered the articulations in Variations 1 and 3 to more closely resemble the sound that would have been created by the organ. The addition of these slurs improves the fluidity of the melodic line and assists the retention of smooth phrases that are closer to the original intention of Ives when he composed the work in 1891.
When teaching this piece, several key musical elements can be highlighted:
1. The student can be introduced to a genre of music that may be new for them via this arrangement of a standard work.
2. The student can become aware of the theme and variation technique in composition.
3. The student can experience changes in tonality with a firm footing in a well-known melody.
4. The student can experience meter changes as well as rhythmic alterations to the original melody.
5. The student can become aware of the compositional tools used by Ives as well as their relevance to music history and literature.
The piece is appropriate as a teaching piece with students at the upper-intermediate level and as a performance piece for students who are advanced.
            -American Music Teacher, June-July 2007
, Alice M. Hammel


Woodland Reverie for Solo Flute

"... this gentle work sounds like a summer daydream, with its rising lines, legato passages, subtle embellishments of the main theme, interesting but not jarring contrasts, and generally meandering feel. It is not technically demanding but contains many delightful opportunities for expression."
              -Diane Boyd Schulz, Flute Talk, March 2012

last updated March 14, 2020