The day after the 2016 presidential election, singer-songwriter and composer Gabriel Kahane boarded a train at Penn Station and traveled 8,980 miles around the continental United States, talking to dozens of strangers in an attempt to better understand his country and fellow citizens. The resulting album and stage piece, Book of Travelers (Nonesuch Records), is at once a prayer for empathy and reconciliation, as well as an unflinching examination of the complex and often troubled history of the US. This fall, Mr. Kahane embarks on a 30-city North American tour in support of the album.
Gabriel Kahane has collaborated with a diverse array of artists, including Paul Simon, Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird, Blake Mills, and Chris Thile. He has been commissioned by Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Carnegie Hall, A Far Cry, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, for whom he served as composer-in-residence from 2011 to 2013. For the Oregon Symphony he wrote emergency shelter intake form, a nearly hour-long oratorio confronting the resurgence of deep poverty in America and, in particular, the national crises of housing insecurity and homelessness. That work was premiered in May 2018 and recorded in August. With The Knights, Kahane recorded his orchestral song cycle Crane Palimpsest, following a performance at Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall. The Fiction Issue, a disc of chamber music featuring Brooklyn Rider and vocalist Shara Nova, was released in 2016.
An avid theater artist, Mr. Kahane starred at BAM in the staged version of his Los Angeles–centric album, The Ambassador, in a production directed by John Tiffany. He is also the composer-lyricist of the musical February House, which was premiered in 2012 at the Public Theater and recorded by the StorySound label.
A graduate of Brown University, Gabriel Kahane lives in Brooklyn.