Moments with Daniel Sperry: Cello in Lithia Park from Daniel Sperry on Vimeo.

Ashland Daily Times Article about Daniel in Lithia Park...

Briefly....

Daniel Sperry is an innovative, genre-stretching cellist, composer, and evocateur from Ashland, OR, who specializes in creating Musical Portraits for individuals as markers for special occasions and as gifts for loved ones. He performs all over the country in house concerts featuring these portraits, the poetry of Rumi, Hafiz and others along with his original music, opera arias, and standards.

I keep going because people buy CDs, or host a concert, or commission a musical portrait. Or sometimes, they just leave money in support of an artist abamdoned to creating a way of beauty in the world. You can do that here:

You Have Arrived at a Root Area of My Website....

Dear Friends,

 It is December 30th, 2014. I am beginning to write a series of articles that will attempt to fill out the story of my work, in an online format, on my website, and to some degree, shared on the different social media platforms. 

Each article will be part of my Journal on the web site, and also will have a home somewhere else on the site, in this case, here!

My purpose is to do as much revelation and education as I can about the path I am on. In the end, my path is not very different than the path we are all on. To the extent that we share a human body, we are on a very similar path. 

The fact that I am walking through life in an attempt to be a musician and an artist - well, that may be different or similar. 

But think about it! Every time you speak to someone, maybe in some way you are singing: trying to express something from the deep. 

Or, when you take a boat out on any water, it is a performance, a dance with the elements, and in that, there is art, and skill, and a way of coming from a deeper place, of responding to the welling up of this humanness that is yours. 

The beginning is about how I got started on the path that I am on, the genesis of my current work. Even before that, I will give you the best possible description I can of what my current work is all about. 

It is my hope that if the articles interest you, you will write to me with comments. Or, that you will participate in some way that makes sense for you. 

I am not pretending to be an expert on anything. Rather, someone who is learning my way. And laying all of this out for those of you who are following along will surely help me to learn what I need to know to survive and grow on my path. Thank you so much for being here, and listening, as I search for the words...

 

Who I Am Becoming...

 I am a fellow traveler, fairly far into my life's journey, who is working every day on the project of supporting myself through creative work. I do spoken word, I compose “musical portraits”, I write songs, I play the cello, banjo, piano and guitar.

I perform in the Rogue Valley, in Southern Oregon, and live in Ashland, in a little cottage near the middle of town with my beloved L. Ashland was first my home in 2007. I came here originally to be with my son, Gabe, and returned in 2014 after three years on the road. It has come to feel like home.

I spent about three years of the time between 2010 and 2014, on the road, traveling around the country giving house concerts, which feature my speaking poems from Rumi, Hafiz, William Stafford and others, as well as my original music.

I did this solo, although for a while I had a traveling companion. It was very rewarding and also very, very difficult. By the end of that period of touring, I had lost a lot and I was in a very, very tenuous place in my life. There were a few very dear friends who held me and to whom I owe a great deal of gratitude.

I came to the project of supporting myself through my creative work fairly late in life, beginning in 2008. Prior to that, I supported myself through various forms of selling and marketing, primarily, with a few episodes of meditation teaching, customer service, book indexing, and working at a hamburger stand. That is not a complete list and it is not in any particular order.

I have completed six CDs, four of purely instrumental music, and two that include a lot of the poetry I have performed.

One of the main offerings I make is to play in Lithia Park, during the portion of the year where it is warm enough to do that. This has been a magical experience and one that I hope to continue.

 This winter season – as I write this it is the next to the last day of 2014 – I am re-grouping, finding new ways of relating my work to the world. This series of articles is part of that. It is both a document, and an offering.

There will be many ways for you to participate, if you would like to. You can comment, engage, trade with me, sponsor new work, or support existing work, make an investment, commission something for yourself or your friends or family, or just make a contribution outright in support of what I do.

I encourage you to explore my website and respond in any way you feel moved. We are on a big path together. That is the whole idea. We share something very deep. I have no idea where all of this is leading. There is great mystery to life. I welcome you, and I do my best to welcome myself, to this strange, sometimes terrifying and beautiful world.

More In Depth... 

Daniel began playing music early in his life, when he was about 4. After hearing the sound of a cello on a record of orchestral instruments, he asked his mother for one. His mother was a huge influence of music and support for making music throughout his growing up. Having received a half sized cello at 4, it took him a couple years to get serious about it, but soon he was traveling more than an hour a week to study with his first formal teacher, Marjorie Enix,  at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. This campus was the source of a broad musical education all the way through his childhood and into college, as he attended many concerts, string quartet concerts, chamber orchestras, choruses. Later, in high school, he began studying with Nelson Cooke, formerly the principal cellist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the cellist heard on Beatles recordings like Eleanor Rigby. Daniel's study with Mr. Cooke culminated in his joining the Florida Gulf Coast Symphony at the age of 17, where he continued to gain deep experience in the symphonic repertoire and strengthen his cello playing skills.

In his late teens, Daniel's interest in contemporary music led to his move to Nashville, TN, where he played with the Nashville Symphony, and began playing in recording studios as well as forming a fortunate relationship with Mac Gayden, singer/songwriter and legendary guitar player - the writer of the much recorded hit song "Everlasting Love". Daniel played cello in the original eclectic R&B group led by Gayden called Skyboat.

Since those years Daniel has performed and written music to support the worldwide meditation movement led by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, co-producing an album with then wife and musical partner Renie ( now Renie Praver) for that purpose. In the 90's, Daniel was part of an eclectic folk-acoustic band which included Neil Young-like guitar playing, Irish pipes, and a folk/blues jamming style. The band was called called Sage, and they perfomed throughout the Midwest. Daniel was also a frequent guest with performers traveling to that area including Krishna Das.

Throughout these years Daniel continued to add his original cello style to the recordings of contemporary artists/singer/songwriters. In 2010, he took off on a three year trek criss-crossing the country to offer house concerts featuring original cello music and the poetry of Rumi, Hafiz, William Stafford and others. After offering over 200 concerts, Daniel returned to Ashland, OR, where he has resumed serving the community in a musical offering most frequently experienced in Lithia Park. 

Since 2009, he has completed 6 CDs of original work, including two based around poetry. His current project involves crafting songs from the poetry of William Stafford. The CD is expected to be released in early 2015, when Daniel will resume touring to support the new work, which will feature a small folk ensemble and beautiful harmonies as well as the soul-ravishing cello he is known for...stay tuned!