Make a Ruckus

In which nice and pretty and accessible are none of the words with which to describe Daniel Wolfert.


To my dear reader,

Introducing the eponymous musical piece on my March 2016 composition recital RUCKUS: A Recital of New Music by Daniel Wolfert, I forewarned the audience that it might be unappealing to some. The piece, I told them, was long-winded, confusing, and oftentimes purposefully ugly. The piece, I told them, was not nice or pretty or accessible. The important thing to remember, I told them, was that I wasn’t there to be nice or pretty or accessible. I was there to make a ruckus.

Walking away from my last concert with the Adelphians Concert Choir – the mixed voice musical ensemble I have been a part of since the beginning of college – I cannot help but feel relieved to never have to sing in it again, but also unsurprisingly dissatisfied. Looking back on my time here, I cannot help but feel that my successes – among them, my recital itself – have primarily been unrelated to, or even in spite of, the School of Music.

I spent the first two years of college studying with a voice teacher that was widely disrespected by the other students, and was responsible for teaching me so ineptly that I was in almost constant pain from singing by the end of my sophomore year. When I finally informed the head of the vocal department of this, she kindly moved me to a better teacher for the first semester of my junior year. The next semester, however, that teacher was on sabbatical, to be replaced by an old-fashioned vocal professor that clearly considered me a second-tier vocalist. Although that teacher left and the second teacher returned for my senior year, this still only gave me three semesters with someone that had any interest in me and my voice. I am leaving college feeling exhausted and insecure in my own vocal abilities.

I’ve spent the past five semesters studying composition with a teacher that taught me well, but due to the design of the school, was unable to give me the opportunities a school that catered to composers might. He certainly meant for the best, but the response from the school concerning my compositions was one of general disinterest. In spite of the fact that I was one of the few students in the School of Music creating contemporary classical music, I was not given particular interest or time by the students or faculty, and have never received any sort of recognition for my contributions in this regard. I am leaving college feeling disregarded and unappreciated.

Perhaps this is a question of games. Belligerent and irascible child I am, I have never felt I have succeeded in the School of Music because I have little interest in playing by their rules. Do not misunderstand; I have learned a great deal from the School of Music. But if this is the game, I have no desire to play it.

I am not here to play games. I am only here to win them.

I am not here to make nice. I am only here to make a ruckus.

With all due respect,

Daniel Wolfert