Daniel Catán (1949-2011) composed in a lyrical, romantic style that lends itself particularly well to the human voice. Lush orchestrations reminiscent of Debussy and Strauss, along with Latin American instruments and rhythms, are features of his distinctive style.
After the success of his opera La Hija de Rappaccini, Catán composed Florencia en el Amazonas, which has the distinction of being the first Spanish-language opera commissioned by a major American opera company. The triumph of this opera led to the commission of Salsipuedes for Houston Grand Opera. His fourth opera, Il Postino, was commissioned by Los Angeles Opera and premiered in Los Angeles, Vienna and Paris in 2011, featuring Plácido Domingo in the role of Pablo Neruda.
At the time of his death (in Austin, Texas, while serving as a Visiting Professor at the University of Texas) Catán was at work on his next opera, Meet John Doe, his first major operatic work in English.
Born in Mexico, Catán studied philosophy at the University of Sussex in England before enrolling in Princeton as a PhD student in composition under the tuition of Milton Babbitt, James Randall and Benjamin Boretz. His music is published by Associated Music Publishers.