read long bio


“The composer is gifted, passionate, and wonderfully generous with both gifts and passion.”  “[Bohlen’s music seems] to demonstrate that tiny little division between solitude and loneliness; between warm nostalgia and bitter alienation.”
         - Robert Plyler, Jamestown Post Journal, April 2004

“[Bohlen is] a composer of unusual initiative and colorful imagination.”   “…written brilliantly, musically, artistically, and technically flawless…”
         - Max Laidlaw, Regina Leader Post, July 1963


“…included a competition between a bold musical theme and a tender one, with a reassuring victory for the latter.”
         - Robert Plyler, Jamestown Post Journal, April 2004


“… a bold Ballade, a gentle Valse, and a romping Burlesque.”
         - Robert Plyler, Jamestown Post Journal, April 2004


“[Transmutational Etudes] embraces a wide variety of…music textures including a gentle kiss of Chopin.”
         - Robert Plyler, Jamestown Post Journal, April 2004

ISMENE, opera in one act

“[The composer] contrived a tense musical fabric, …using a chamber orchestra and [in addition to the five principal characters] choral effects both live and pre-recorded.”
“… the story of Ismene [daughter of Oedipus] has a contemporary application, …she represents the struggle of [modern] humanistic values…against distortions of environment.”
         - John Haskins, Kansas City Star, February 1969

“The orchestra under Dr. Bohlen’s baton played…flawlessly.”  “…none could deny the force of the score, which dramatically reinforced virtually every moment of the performance.”
         - Glen Q. Pierce, Warrensburg Star-Journal, February 1969
         Premiere performance review of Îsmene, opera in one act


“…beautifully expressive…”
         - Robert Plyler, Jamestown Post Journal, April 2004

 “[Bohlen is] a composer of unusual initiative and colorful imagination.”  “[Missa Brevis captures] the meaning of the liturgy, and the glory of the Mass [is] apparent in his writing…”  “…written brilliantly, musically, artistically, and technically flawless…”  “…a composer of church music who evidently knows what he is writing about and for whom he is writing…”
“[Within the Gloria] there is a rising, soaring…glory of power [with] phrase length crescendos and general high spirited dynamics… the climaxes at the conclusion [are] thrilling indeed.”
“The Agnus Dei [contains] beauty and mystic meaning [in the] familiar ‘O Lamb of God Who Takest Away the Sins of the World.”
“It is above all else worshipful.”
         - Max Laidlaw, Regina Leader Post, July 1963


“…a setting of fractured nursery rhymes to music styled much like Broadway show tunes.”
         - Robert Plyler, Jamestown Post Journal, April 2004


“Donald Bohlen has been a major force on this campus since his arrival thirty years ago.  He’s a talented composer, a gifted instructor, a true inspiration for young composers…many students have benefited from [his] unwavering commitment to helping them achieve success.”
          - Dennis Hefner, SUNY Fredonia President, Dunkirk Observer, April 2004

“As a composer myself, I can recognize [Donald’s] composition program as unique and very successful.  The ingredients that make it successful are [his] vision for what students should learn, the seminar that brings the composition students together as a discussion and study group, …allowing students to grow from a variety of experiences…Donald is involved in a gem both of and beyond his own making.”
          - Karl Boelter, Fredonia School of Music Director, Dunkirk Observer, April 2003

“…Bohlen’s career at Fredonia has included achievements as a composer, pianist, and scholar, and as a teacher.  [His students] have continued their education at some of the best schools in the United States, and have won scholarships for their work as composers.”
         - Dennis Hefner, SUNY Fredonia President, Dunkirk Observer, April 2003

The SUNY Fredonia School of Music

Michael Bies, pianist, composer, educator

Lisa Brigantino, singer/songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist. She performs as soloist, as well as with In the Rough, Lez Zeppelin, and The Vickie and Nickie Show.

DJ Brady, composer of music for film, television & multimedia

Rob Deemer, composer and chair of composition at the SUNY Fredonia School of Music

Neil Dufallo, composer, violinist, director of the creative music ensemble Ne(x)tworks, and a member of the world-renowned amplified string quartet known as ETHEL

Michael Eglin, composer, conductor and pianist

ETHOS New Music Society

ETHOS New Music Society Facebook

Nate Hess, concert pianist, Chair of piano area at Mercyhurst College, PA

Hidden Pond Productions, Music, Talent, Artistic Supervision, Intellectual Property Licensing of any kind, Custom Music Production & Scoring, under the management of Lisa Brigantino

David R. Holsinger, composer, conductor, and Director of the Lee University Wind Ensemble

Jonas Music Services marketing design for musicians owned and operated by Ann Lathan-Kerzner and David Kerzner

Michael Kelly, composer and bass player, music technology instructor at Montgomery Community College, PA

Don Rebic, jazz pianist, composer and arranger

Vickie and Nickie, - Website of Vickie and Nickie, the singing sister duo
straight from the hills of northern Minnesota!

Marcus Wolf, - recording artist, singer, guitarist, composer and producer in New York City

read short bio


ETHOS Presents...The Music of Donald Bohlen – An Evening of Chamber Music, in honor of the composer’s 75th birthday

Wednesday, October 14, 2009
8 p.m., Rosch Recital Hall on the SUNY Fredonia campus

Songs and Doubles (Angela Haas, soprano; Andrew Seigal, clarinet; Anne Kissel, piano)
Prologue, Arioso and Variants (Janet Sung, violin)
Exordium, Book 1 (Sean Duggan, piano)


Copyright © 2008 Donald Bohlen.

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