Home / News / Composer, Violinist and Artist-Entrepreneur Daniel Bernard Roumain joins ASU as Institute Professor

Composer, Violinist and Artist-Entrepreneur Daniel Bernard Roumain joins ASU as Institute Professor

May 6, 2016

In joint appointment at Herberger Institute and ASU Gammage, Roumain will teach, practice and build cross-disciplinary artists’ lab with choreographer Liz Lerman and theatre director Michael Rohd

In 2005, Daniel Bernard Roumain joined Philip Glass in concert at Arizona State University’s performing arts venue ASU Gammage.

“Philip Glass and I will begin a conversation that I hope you might join,” he wrote, introducing their orchestral and cinematic collaboration that was produced in part during Roumain’s artist-in-residency at ASU that spring. “I wanted this concert to be about many things; film, the orchestra, etudes, hip-hop and dialogue. A town hall meeting for curiously strong mind and fresh, brave souls.”

That conversation will continue at ASU in the fall of 2016, when Roumain will join the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and ASU Gammage as Institute Professor, where he will act as a professor of practice.

He is the third Institute Professor to be named, along with dance legend and MacArthur “genius” Liz Lerman and founding director of the Sojourn Theatre and the Center for Performance and Civic Practice Michael Rohd. Together, the multi-disciplinary artists will grow ASU’s Ensemble Lab, a think tank for artistic experimentation and community interventions where Institute professors are encouraged to work together to advance national initiatives and collectively redesign arts and design education so it is at the center of public life. The lab was started in the spring of 2016 by Lerman with the support of Herberger Institute Dean Steven Tepper.

“Daniel is a national leader in the arts who is known for collaborating across art forms, connecting to new audiences and demonstrating how an enterprising musician works in the 21st century,” said Tepper. “He will be an incredible mentor to students, an ambassador in the community and a thought leader for the Herberger Institute, ASU Gammage and the university.”

Like Lerman and Rohd, Roumain’s work frequently extends beyond the limits of genre. Known for his signature violin sounds infused with a myriad of electronic and urban music influences, “DBR,” as he is often called, takes his genre-bending music beyond the proscenium. He has been nominated for an Emmy Award for outstanding musical composition for his work with ESPN, featured as keynote performer at technology conferences and has composed music for an array of solo performers, chamber ensembles, orchestras, dance works, television and film. 

Roumain made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2000 with the American Composers Orchestra performing his Harlem Essay for Orchestra. He went on to compose works for the Boston Pops Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, the Library of Congress, the Stuttgart Symphony and myriad others. He holds a doctorate degree in music composition from the University of Michigan.

An avid arts industry leader, Roumain serves on the board of directors of the League of American Orchestras, Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP), Creative Capital, the advisory committee of the Sphinx Organization and was co-chair of 2015 and 2016 APAP conferences.

Roumain is currently working on a new solo violin work for the acclaimed violinist Rachel Barton Pine, and continues work on We Shall Not Be Moved, a chamber opera commissioned by Opera Philadelphia and co-produced by the Apollo Theater.

At ASU, Roumain will teach courses that focus on translating personal accounts into creative expression and on the complex artistic, social and cultural impact of artist/activists. His classes will be open to musicians, artists, designers and other interested students. In his joint appointment with ASU Gammage, he will develop artistic projects that extend and expand his creative work and its connections with the community. He will also serve as an advisor to the dean of the Herberger Institute, including developing the Projecting All Voices initiative on how to align the nation’s largest comprehensive arts and design college with the experiences, aspirations and values of a new generation of Latino/a, indigenous and African American artists.

“I have been performing, creating, and collaborating with the ASU and surrounding communities for over 15 years. The relationships here have always been collaborative, deeply profound, and speak to the need and vitality of our performing arts within our daily lives. I look forward to becoming part of the ASU family of thinkers, teachers, makers, and creators," said Roumain.

As with many artists at the Herberger Institute and ASU Gammage, Roumain’s work will be about many things; if past performance is any indication of the future, it will be an allegorical town hall meeting for which he hopes you might join.


Beth Giudicessi

Communications coordinator, ASU Media Relations