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A Musical Life

A Musical Life: Daniel Racer

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Dan Racer teaches bass, music theory, composition and directs the Chamber Orchestra at Friends University. He is an active musician in the Wichita area performing as principal bassist for the Wichita Grand Opera and as a jazz bassist with many groups in the Wichita area. He also is an active composer with works in a variety of genres from classical to jazz and beyond. Many of his works have been premiered by Friends University ensembles as well as musicians in Wichita and around the world.

My name is Daniel Racer. I’m a composer and bass teacher at Friends University.

My experiences as a child were not classical experiences. I took piano lessons and understood classical music through piano. But I didn’t go to symphony concerts.

Then, when I got to college and started actually experiencing classical music, I heard Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and that was kind of a gateway for me into the world of classical music. And then I realized, "Oh, there’s something here that’s not big powdered wigs and stuff."

I think we're lucky now because we live in a time where if you want to write something that involves jazz you use jazz, if you want to use Gamelan music, you use Gamelan music. If you want to write a piece with an Auto-Tune part you can write a piece with an Auto-Tune part.

I want to create something new and the idea of creation is what drives me to write music. I love sound and I like to hear things and I’m inspired by that. That gives me all kinds of emotional aesthetic responses. I want to create those same things.

When I hear music and I have a response to it, I want to create that kind of music that makes someone else have that response or makes myself have that response, hopefully, if it’s good enough.