A native of Heidelberg, Germany, multi-instrumentalist and music educator Dan Abrams began his formal music studies in classical piano performance at the age of eight under the tutelage of Karen Jones. Although he continued to pursue performance studies on a variety of instruments throughout middle and high school, Dan found his instrumental niche with the bassoon in sixth grade. Prior to attending college, Dan earned numerous top state and regional awards in solo, chamber, ensemble, jazz, and marching band competitions, including the Midwest Double Reed Society’s bassoon soloist Artist of the Year award.
After earning his Associate of Arts in economics at Santa Monica College and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a minor in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Southern California, Dan returned to his music studies at Santa Monica College under bassoonist Leslie Lashinsky. While at SMC, Dan worked as a substitute professor for the music faculty, the teaching assistant for the strings program, and the music department theory and piano tutor.
Dan completed his Bachelor of Music and Master of Fine Arts in Bassoon Performance with bassoonist Elliott Moreau at the University of California, Irvine, graduating summa cum laude and earning Honors in Music and Culture, Phi Beta Kappa, and the Chancellor’s Award of Distinction for community engagement. In his academic studies, Dan rigorously explored 20th /21st -century music theory and history topics, as well as intensive coursework in world music, orchestration, conducting, and composition. At UCI, Dan was employed as the assistant conductor of the UCI Wind Ensemble and UCI Symphony Orchestra, and served as the teaching assistant for the music history core sequence.
Dan currently resides in Orange County, where he teaches at Santa Ana High School as the instructor for music theory, music technology, and music business, while providing additional support as an assistant band director and an instructor for winds and brass. He maintains an active private studio, where a number of his students have earned spots in local youth and university orchestras, including the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra. Dan serves as the principal bassoonist of the Symphonic Winds of the Pacific, Orange County Symphony Orchestra, Orange County Symphonic Pops Orchestra, Riverside Lyric Opera, and UCI Symphony Orchestra, while freelancing with other public and commercial ensembles across Southern California. Aside from his performance, teaching, and research engagements, Dan works as an advocate for access to music instruction for low-income families and at-risk school districts, and he frequently volunteers at CHOC Children’s Hospital of Orange County.