Danny Clay is a composer and educator whose work is deeply rooted in curiosity, collaboration, and the sheer joy of making things with people of all ages and levels of artistic experience.
Working closely with artists, students, and community members alike, he builds worlds of inquiry, play, and perpetual discovery that integrate elements of sound, movement, theater, and visual design. Children's games, speculative systems, cognitive puzzles, invented notation, found objects, imaginary archives, repurposed media, micro-improvisations, and happy accidents all make frequent appearances in his projects.
As a composer, his recent collaborators include Kronos Quartet, Eighth Blackbird,
Third Coast Percussion, the San Francisco Girls Chorus, Wu Man, Volti, the People's Music School of Chicago, MyCincinnati Youth Orchestra, Sarah Cahill, and printmaker Jon Fischer. His work has been performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Ensemble Dal Niente, and has been presented by the deYoung Museum, San Francisco Performances, the Look and Listen Festival, the McEvoy Foundation for the Arts at the Minnesota Street Project, the Meaney Center for the Arts in Seattle, and the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, among others.
As an educator, he leads workshops on composing and creativity for people of all ages, including teachers and students from around the world. He has taught at Stanford University, San Francisco State University, the Crowden Music Center, the after-school program Little Opera, and Zion Lutheran School in San Francisco. In 2020, he designed and implemented the curriculum for Kronos Quartet's pilot music program for third graders in the SF Unified School District, "Kronos Music: DIY!" He has created family-friendly video lessons on composing for Kennedy Center Education, Noe Music, Thingamajigs, and Trade Winds Ensemble.