Gabriel Kahane

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Kahane in recording studio

Gabriel Kahane (born 1981 in Venice Beach, California) is an American composer and singer-songwriter living in New York City.


Gabriel Kahane is the son of a psychologist mother and the concert pianist and conductor Jeffrey Kahane.[1] He attended the New England Conservatory before transferring to Brown University, where he wrote his first musical and graduated with a bachelor's degree in music.

Kahane currently lives in Brooklyn and performs his original songs in venues across the United States.


Gabriel Kahane’s style is eclectic, most often mixing his classical background with modern folk-pop influences. He is often compared to Sufjan Stevens[2] and Rufus Wainwright and has collaborated with both of these artists.

Kahane released a self-titled album, Gabriel Kahane, on Family Records in 2008, receiving positive reviews.[3]

In September 2011, Kahane released his second singer-songwriter album, Where Are The Arms, on StorySound Records. It was recorded with many of his regular collaborators, including Rob Moose on violin and guitar, Matt Johnson on drums, and Casey Foubert, who also helped mix and produce it, on various instruments.[4] These three musicians would also collaborate with him on his next album, The Ambassador.[5]

For his 2014 album, The Ambassador, he used ten addresses in L.A. to write songs from the perspectives of characters both real and imaginary. The album was featured in Rolling Stone,[6] Vogue,[7] and Paste,[8] and Kahane also wrote a piece about exploring L.A. through music for The New Yorker.[9] The album was staged by Tony-award winner John Tiffany with set design by Tony-award winner Christine Jones at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Carolina Performing Arts in the fall of 2014 and at University of California, Los Angeles in the spring of 2015.[10] The song "Empire Liquor Mart (9127 S. Figueroa St.)" from The Ambassador was selected by NPR as one of their NPR Music's Favorite Songs Of 2014.[11]

After the 2016 election, he embarked on a cross-country train trip that yielded the 2018 album Book of Travelers that inextricably links America’s abstract political reality with the human lives it has shaped.[12]


Kahane’s best-known work, the song cycle Craigslistlieder, which was his first concert work and was re-released by indie record label Family Records in 2008,[13] sets real Craigslist ads to music. Other artists have covered this voice-and-piano piece,[14] and Audra McDonald has included Craigslistlieder in her standard repertoire.[15]

In the spring of 2010, Gabriel Kahane performed as part of the American Songbook at Lincoln Center, garnering praise from the New York Times.[16] During the 2010-11 season, he performed with cellist Alisa Weilerstein in a duo recital featuring music composed by Kahane, including Little Sleep's Head Sprouting Hair in the Moonlight.[17] After writing a piano concerto for Natasha Paremski, he was commissioned by the Kronos Quartet to write The Red Book, a string quartet based on Anne Carson's Autobiography of Red, and by the Los Angeles Philharmonic for a large chamber work.[18] Crane Palimpsest, a work about the Brooklyn Bridge, was conducted by Kahane's father, Jeffrey Kahane, conducting the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.[19]

Gabriel Kahane backstage at Carnegie Hall

As part of his 2012-2013 residency with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra,[20] Kahane wrote Gabriel's Guide to the 48 States inspired by the American Guide Series, commissioned by the government during the Great Depression. The piece received its New York Premiere at Carnegie Hall in April, 2013 with Orpheus playing and Kahane singing.[21]

Other notable compositions include Come On All You Ghosts, a three-part song cycle setting Matthew Zapruder's poetry for a baritone and string quartet,[22] and he frequently performs and records with such artists as Timo Andres,[23] Brooklyn Rider,[24] Rob Moose,[25] and Chris Thile.[26]

Musical Theater[edit]

Gabriel Kahane began to work in theater in New York City after winning a Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Award for Straight Man, which he wrote in college. He worked with New York theater company Les Freres Corbusier, music directing A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant and the LA production of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson for Michael Friedman and Alex Timbers.[27]

His musical February House, commissioned by The Public Theater, told the story of a Brooklyn World War II-era commune, where W.H. Auden, Gypsy Rose Lee, Benjamin Britten, Carson McCullers, Jane Bowles, and Paul Bowles all lived together.[28]

His album The Ambassador was staged in 2014-15 by Tony-award winner John Tiffany with set design by Tony-award winner Christine Jones.[10] Kahane has been commissioned by the Signature Theatre (Arlington, Virginia) and The Public Theater in New York City and is currently under commission for new pieces for both theaters.[29]



  • 2016 Nocturama —large orchestra, commissioned by the Interlochen Academy for the Arts
  • 2015 Freight & Salvage —string orchestra, commissioned by A Far Cry, The Knights, and the Orlando Philharmonic
  • 2013 Gabriel’s Guide to the 48 States—baritone, electric guitar, banjo, and chamber orchestra, commissioned by Orpheus Chamber Orchestra[21]
  • 2012 Crane Palimpsest—baritone and chamber orchestra, co-commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra[19]



  • 2014 Bradbury Studies—string quartet, commissioned by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
  • 2013 Without a Frame—flute, bass clarinet, trumpet, electric or acoustic guitar, viola, and cello, written for yMusic[31]
  • 2012 Fun House—flute doubling piccolo, Bb clarinet doubling bass clarinet, Bb trumpet doubling piccolo trumpet and chromatic harmonica, violin doubling electric guitar, viola, and cello, written for yMusic[31]
  • 2012 The Fiction Issue—string quartet, piano, reed organ, two guitars, and two solo voices (one male/one female), commissioned by Carnegie Hall for Brooklyn Rider, Shara Worden, and the composer[22]
  • 2012 Line Up!—string quartet, commissioned by Caramoor International Music Festival for the Linden Quartet[32]
  • 2011 Come On All You Ghosts—string quartet and baritone, commissioned by Bravo! Vail for the Calder Quartet[22]
  • 2010 Little Sleep’s Head Sprouting Hair in the Moonlight—cello, piano, and baritone, commissioned by Linda and Stuart Nelson[17]
  • 2010 The Red Book—string quartet, commissioned by the Kronos Quartet[33]
  • 2009 Pocket Concerto—solo trumpet, flute, clarinet, and string trio (w/ violin doubling electric guitar), commissioned by Linda and Stuart Nelson[34]
  • 2008 For the Union Dead—flute, clarinet (doubling bass clarinet), trumpet, banjo, piano, voice, and string trio (violin doubling electric guitar), commissioned by the Verbier Festival[14]


  • 2016 Works on Paper—piano, commissioned by Carnegie Hall for Timo Andres
  • 2011 Being Alive (after Stephen Sondheim)—piano, commissioned by Anthony De Mare[35]
  • 2011 The Baffled King (after Leonard Cohen)—piano, commissioned by the Ecstatic Music Festival[36]
  • 2009 Django: Tiny Variations on a Big Dog—piano, commissioned by Jeffrey Kahane[33]
  • 2008 Sonata—piano, commissioned by Linda and Stuart Nelson[37]


  • 2015 Sorkin Rants—voice and piano
  • 2013 Three Vernacular Songs—voice and piano
  • 2011 The Memory Palace—baritone and piano, commissioned by New York Festival of Song[38]
  • 2006 Craigslistlieder—voice and piano[14]


  • 2010 Étude: Cobalt Cure—solo violin, commissioned by Festival Vestfold[39]







  • 2012 February House—StorySound Records[51]



  1. ^ Huizenga, Tom. "Gabriel Kahane: Tiny Desk Concert". NPR Music. NPR. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Schlansky, Evan. "Gabriel Kahane". American Songwriter. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  3. ^ "Album Review: Gabriel Kahane - Gabriel Kahane | Prefix". 2008-09-24. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
  4. ^ Chinen, Nate (19 September 2011). "A New Album by Mick Jagger and Friends". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  5. ^ Blickenstaff, Jacob (2 June 2014). "Contact: Gabriel Kahane, a Conductor's Son, Crafts Pop Songs With Substance". Mother Jones. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  6. ^ DiMartino, Dave (4 June 2014). "A Whole Lotta Led Zepelin". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  7. ^ Inglese, Elizabeth (30 May 2014). "Gabriel Kahane Premieres New Album Inspired by the Architecture of Los Angeles". Vogue. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  8. ^ Orr, Dacey (28 May 2014). "Video Premiere: Gabriel Kahane - "Bradbury (304 Broadway)"". Paste. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  9. ^ Kahane, Gabriel (11 June 2014). "Learning to Look at L.A." The New Yorker. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  10. ^ a b "Staged Version of Gabriel Kahane's THE AMBASSADOR, Directed by John Tiffany, Sets Dates in NYC, L.A. & North Carolina". Broadway World. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  11. ^ "NPR Music's Favorite Songs Of 2014". NPR. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  12. ^ "Gabriel Kahane: Book of Travelers". Pitchfork. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  13. ^ "Family Records Re-Releases Kahanes Craigslistlieder". Family Records. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
  14. ^ a b c Smith, Steve (2009-04-26). "A Singer-Songwriter Ignores Musical Boundaries". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
  15. ^ "Audra McDonald performs "Craigslistlieder"". Thirteen. WNET New York Public Media. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  16. ^ Smith, Steve (2010-03-05). "Tied to a Time and Place, but Not a Single Style". The New York Times.
  17. ^ a b Peck, Claude (20 February 2011). "Alisa Weilerstein and Bach; Gabriel Kahane and Craigslist". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  18. ^ "Gabriel Kahane, vocals, guitar & piano". Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  19. ^ a b Swed, Mark (23 April 2012). "Music review: Gabriel Kahane's score is conducted by his father". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  20. ^ "Gabriel Kahane, Composer-in-Residence". Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Blog. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  21. ^ a b Robin, William (19 April 2013). "Traveling 48 States, by Orchestra". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  22. ^ a b c Smith, Steve (28 October 2012). "Boundaries? Don't Bother: Gabriel Kahane at Zankel Hall". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  23. ^ "Ecstatic Music Festival". Kaufman Music Center. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  24. ^ "Gabriel Kahane: Don't Even Listen". Carnegie Hall. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  25. ^ "Gabriel Kahane & Rob Moose Duo". Strathmore. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  26. ^ "more Punch Brothers & Chris Thile gigs (Gabriel Kahane too)". Brooklyn Vegan. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  27. ^ Brantley, Ben (14 October 2006). "A Guided Tour of Hell, With an Appearance by Satan". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  28. ^ a b Brantley, Ben (22 May 2012). "Tuneful Rooms of Their Own in Brooklyn: 'February House,' at the Public Theater". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  29. ^ "Gabriel Kahane". Gabriel Kahane. 2011-09-20. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
  30. ^ Kozinn, Allan (22 November 2011). "Pop and Classical in the Same Voice". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  31. ^ a b "New EP Out Today!". yMusic. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  32. ^ "Caramoor Presents Gabriel Kahane and The Linden String Quartet, 7/13". Broadway World. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  33. ^ a b "Gabriel Kahane". The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  34. ^ "Song (score and parts): Pocket concerto for trumpet and micro ensemble". Sheet Music Plus. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  35. ^ "Liaisons: Re-Imagining Sondheim for the Piano". Anthony De Mare. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  36. ^ Cohen, Jake (7 March 2011). "Live Review: Timo Andres & Gabriel Kahane at NY's Ecstatic Music Festival (3/5)". Consequences of Sound. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  37. ^ "Piano Sonata". Sheet Music Plus. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  38. ^ "In the Memory Palace". New York Festival of Song. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  39. ^ "Kahane: Etude - Cobalt Cure". Presto Classical. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  40. ^ "Caravan Man". Paul Toben. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  41. ^ "New Releases". Sony Masterworks. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  42. ^ "Gabriel Kahane: Where are the Arms". StorySound Records. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  43. ^ "Gabriel Kahane". Family Records. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  44. ^ Colville, Liz (9 February 2007). "Gabriel Kahane: Walking Away from Winter". Stylus. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  45. ^ "Five Songs". Rate Your Music. Archived from the original on 6 July 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  46. ^ "Red Hot + Bach Releases June 17th". Red Hot. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  47. ^ Deusner, Stephen (17 April 2012). "Loudon Wainwright III: Older Than My Old Man Now". Paste. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  48. ^ "High Wide & Handsome-The Charlie Poole Project". The Rosebud Agency. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  49. ^ Frisicano, Andrew (1 June 2009). "Gabriel Kahane - June residency at Rockwood Music Hall". Brooklyn Vegan. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  50. ^ "Osso: Run Rabbit Run". Asthmatic Kitty. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  51. ^ "February House". StorySound Records. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  52. ^ "yMusic-Year of the Dragon". Record Collection. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  53. ^ "Munch Suite". HB Direct. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  54. ^ "Five Borough Songbook". Five Boroughs Music Festival. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  55. ^ "Beautiful Mechanical". yMusic. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  56. ^ "Recordings". Natasha Paremski. Retrieved 2 July 2014.

External links[edit]