Composers' Forum

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Daniel Zarb-Cousin
  • Male
  • Huntington Beach, CA
  • United States
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    Piece For Violin

Daniel Zarb-Cousin's Discussions

Fugue for Three Voices

Started this discussion. Last reply by H. S. Teoh Jul 24, 2017. 1 Reply is a fugue for three voices (except at some…Continue

Fantasy for Orchestra

Started this discussion. Last reply by Daniel Zarb-Cousin Jan 7, 2018. 12 Replies

This is the piece I have written and submitted for the 2017 National Young Composers Challenge, which I won during the 2016 year with my piece "Largo for Orchestra" (see that here:…Continue

(JustForFun) Symphony in D# Major

Started this discussion. Last reply by Daniel Zarb-Cousin Aug 22, 2016. 12 Replies

So I do all of my actual work on the piano and that has been going well (currently working on a violin sonata for violin and piano along with the beginnings of a first symphony). But because I have…Continue

(I've won!) Largo for Orchestra (+I need advice)

Started this discussion. Last reply by roger stancill Jun 15, 2016. 8 Replies

UPDATE: Hi everyone, I'd just like to update and announce that I have won 1 of the 3 places in the Young Composers Challenge orchestral division! I will receive 1000$, along with a professional live…Continue


Daniel Zarb-Cousin

Profile Information

What have you composed for? Or what medium do you work around?
Small Ensemble, Big Ensemble, Contemporary Ensembles, Other
What is your favorite genre or style of music?
Is music your main income source?
No - Not Yet
Where do you live?
About Me (Must include at least one paragraph of biographical information about you as a composer) - blank or minimal answers on this line will cause your request to be rejected. Include a link to your website if you have one.
This is incredibly outdated, I'm 18 now, but don't have the time to right a new one:

I'm Daniel, 16 years old, a soon-to-be-junior in high school. I started composing at around 10 or 11, with a program called "Noteflight." What I did was very small and trivial, but I was intrigued with the idea of composition. Fast forward to freshman year when my interest in composing was re-ignited, and I composed an 11 minute piece for a band project on "Sibelius," which each of the computers in the band room had. The piece actually is really bad and doesn't represent my recent work at all. But it did throw me into the world of composition, and for that, I am thankful.

My work up to the point of spring break, freshman year, had been reminiscent of film scores or something like that. Can't put a pin on it but it was really not too great. And then Stravinsky happened... After listening to the rite 24/7 for the good part of spring break, I had a new approach on composition. I was more open to things that might have seemed odd before. Stravinsky remains one of my two favorites if not my favorite composer today. The pieces of his I like most are the ballet Agon, his Septet, Scenes de Ballet, and of course the Rite of Spring.

The more recent stepping stone of my outlook on composition and music in general came with Alfred Schnittke, who currently may be beating Stravinsky when it comes to my favorite. Schnittke taught me an important lesson: to not try and run from the old ways, but rather to learn from them and take what you will (literally in some cases). Before Schnittke, I honestly was a bit of a pretentious idiot when it came to older music like Haydn or Beethoven, and I would immediately turn it down as though many might turn down modern music.

And so, at this point, I like it all. All of classical seems to have something to offer, and just because I identify most with 20th century stuff doesn't mean I should limit myself to it.

I decided to join this forum out of zeal, as a small piece I wrote for my violinist friend was played and recorded by him, marking the first performance of any of my work by a living human! All around I am just looking to learn from other current composers and receive feedback on my own work if possible.

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At 2:09pm on December 15, 2015, Al Johnston said…

Glad to see you are prolific, Daniel. Many will praise you, many will damn you; just keep on writing, as did Stravinsky. If others encourage you? Fine. Just bear in mind that when all is said and done, it is what you yourself find intriguing about music that will keep you writing, not what others say. Take the time to try to figure out on your own how music works before delving too much into books and courses.

You have great ears. Here's a thought. See if you can discover on your own all the tonal centers and related chords/scales on a tempered keyboard. After a few months of that, then try to discover tonal centers in the untempered realm.I wonder if anyone has even thought to do that yet? Afterwards, as you go on to study the standard texts you can check yourself to see how you did.

[By the way, listen to Moussourgsky's  "Sorochinsky Fair" to hear all the quotations Stravinsky put into his ballets.]

Music is funny in that it is more than merely an art ... when people are polled as to how they might reward themselves after achieving some personal goal, they respond: 1) give themselves some money, 2) give themselves their favorite food, 3) give themselves some music. In that order. It is a more visceral experience than the visual arts; hence, music evokes strong likes and dislikes. I see it everywhere I go.

At 7:43am on June 30, 2015, Tyler Hughes said…

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