'In my work, I am proud to say, one can detect the enormous debt I owe to composers from Monteverdi to Alban Berg. But perhaps the greatest of my debts is having learnt that the originality of an opera need not involve the rejection of our tradition (which would be like blindly embracing the condition of an orphan), but rather the profound assimilation of it, so as to achieve the closest union between a text and its music.' - Daniel Catán
The composer and writer Daniel Catán was born in Mexico City on 3 April 1949 to Sephardic-Jewish and Russian parents.
He studied in England - philosophy at Sussex University and music at Southampton University, and later received a PhD from Princeton University (where his teachers included Milton Babbitt).
When San Diego Opera produced Catán's opera La Hija de Rappaccini ('Rappaccini's Daughter') in 1994, it was the first opera by a Mexican composer to be produced in the USA. Florencia en el Amazonas (1996) was the first opera in Spanish to be commissioned by a US opera company.
Catán was a friend of Plácido Domingo, who sang the role of Pablo Neruda in the composer's last completed opera, Il Postino at its first performance at Los Angeles Opera.
When he died suddenly on 9 April 2011 in Austin, Texas, USA, aged 62, Catán was working on a further opera, Meet John Doe, which had been planned for performance in 2012.
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Ensemble. A Magnificent Piece - Daniel Catán's 'Il Postino' impresses Maria Nockin
Profile. Finding the Right Voice - Maria Nockin talks to American composer Daniel Catán