Daniel Rodríguez


Daniel Rodríguez
Daniel Rodriguez
Background information
Birth name Daniel Rodriguez
Also known as America's Tenor
Born May 24, 1964 (1964-05-24) (age 47)
Brooklyn, New York
Origin Brooklyn, New York, USA
Genres Classical, spiritual, traditional, jazz
Occupations Singer
Years active 1980 – Present
Labels Blix Street Records
Website www.DanielRodriguezMusic.com

Daniel Rodríguez (born May 24, 1964) is an American operatic tenor from New York City. He became known as "The Singing Policeman" in his former work with the New York City Police Department, due to his role as one of the department's designated National Anthem singers. In the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, he received widespread attention with his rendition of "God Bless America", which he sang at memorial events and on television. This led to an offer of formal training from Placido Domingo. He has now recorded several albums, appeared in opera and in symphony concerts, and performs in support of numerous charities.

Contents

Early years

Rodríguez, born in Brooklyn, New York, was the first of two children born to Carmen and Jose Rodríguez, who had emigrated from Puerto Rico as teenagers. Rodríguez' father and grandfather were both tenors, and other family members played various musical instruments.[1] He cites the singing of Mario Lanza as an early musical influence after seeing the movie The Great Caruso.[2][3][4]

At the age of ten, he began a serious study of music.[5] His teen years were spent studying, and later as assistant director at the American Youth Repertory Company in Manhattan, under the tutelage of Juilliard trained Elliot Dorfman.[6][7] During his early years, he also studied with Juilliard's Aldo Bruschi, as well as Miraslov Markoff from the Moscow Ballet and Opera company. Rodriguez performed in Carnegie Hall at age 17.[8]

After he married at 19 and had a son, Rodriguez put music on hold, as he worked at a series of jobs, including short-order cook, caterer, taxi driver, truck driver, and postal worker, before finally joining the police force. At age 25, he decided to get back into the music world, by performing in concerts he developed himself, and eventually organizing an ensemble of musicians called Broadway Magic, who performed around New York at retirement communities, churches, and for local charities.[9][10][11]

Career highlights

Rodríguez entered the New York City Police Academy in 1995.[5] After singing at his own graduation, he was chosen as one of the designated National Anthem singers in the NYPD's ceremonial division.[12] New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani who had seen Rodríguez perform at various events, used his influence to arrange an audition for him at the Metropolitan Opera. His lack of classical training proved an insurmountable obstacle, however, and the Met dismissed him after he had sung but two notes.

June 2001, Rodríguez was the subject of a Cable News Network special about a New York City police officer who sang at Carnegie Hall.[13] He was driving to work over the Verrazano Bridge in New York City at the time of the September 11th terrorist attack, and was two blocks away from the World Trade Center when it collapsed. "I lived the horrors of 9/11 and made peace with God several times that day, and said goodbye to my family once or twice, and realized I was meant to stick around and do something positive with my life." [4] He would spend the next several months working at Ground zero, interrupted only by requests to sing at official functions, memorials and media events.[14] Performing at many post 9/11 events, he received much media attention for his performances of "God Bless America".[15] The Los Angeles Times published article by Jeff Rivers of the Hartford Courant, who wrote: "Daniel Rodríguez put his arms around America and dried its tears with his voice." [16]

He was soon appearing on news and talk shows including, The Today Show, The Early Show, Larry King Live, The David Letterman Show, and Live with Regis and Kelly. He was also interviewed in 2002 and 2005 by The Christophers on their program titled Christopher Close-up.[17] [18][19][20] Rodríguez has been quoted as saying "Watching the Twin Towers collapse didn't make me sing any better. But the passion for the music has changed and for what I represent: The comfort and the feeling of national pride that I bring now more than I did before."[21] He performed at the September 23, 2001 "Prayer For America" concert, honoring the victims of the September 11 terror attacks. Placido Domingo, who was also on the bill, heard him sing and invited him to attend the Domingo/Vilar Young Artists Institute in Washington D.C. for 18 months of opera study.[22][23][24] After seven years as a police officer and then finally gaining national recognition as a singer, he explains "I wasn't a cop who started singing; I was a singer who became a cop...I've been given the gift to sing. I sing for those who have lost loved ones." [25]

At Carnegie Hall's 111th season opening, October 2001, he sang "God Bless America," with the Berlin Philharmonic in a tribute to 9-11.[26] He also signs his first recording contract in October 2001 offered by Manhattan Record Company's Arif Mardin and Ian Ralfini. Rodríguez was the first artist to sign with newly re-activated Manhattan, a division of EMI. In Mardin's life story he describes Rodríguez as "golden voiced." [27]

His debut performance before a worldwide audience occurred when he sang "God Bless America" at the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. June 13, 2002, saw his first public concert backed by full symphony orchestra. Titled "America's Tenors," Rodriguez shared the stage with Michael Amante, at Pittsburgh's Heinz Hall with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lucas Richman.[28] August 2002, Rodriguez performed at the Hollywood Bowl in "The Great American Concert: New York, New York" with John Mauceri conducting.[29][30][31]

Broadcast on ESPN in 2003, he sang the National Anthem at the Indianapolis 500, and returned in 2008 to perform at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Allstate 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup.[32][33] In 2004, he was part of a concert hosted by CNN anchor Paula Zahn, and TV personality Pat Sajak. along with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at Heinz Hall in, in tribute to Fred Rogers, better known to children around the world, as Mister Rogers.[34]

With his emerging success as a singer of both popular and classical music, he retired from the New York City Police Department in May 2004, to pursue music full time.[14] The following year he performed at a Memorial Mass at New York City's Cathedral of Saint Patrick, for His Serene Highness Rainier III, Prince of Monaco who died April 6, 2005.[35] In 2004 Rodríguez performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, as host of the Christmas Yuletide Celebration concert series, with Jack Everly principal pops conductor. In 2005 he hosted the inaugural production of Holiday Spectacular at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.[36][37]

At the 50th anniversary of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, in April 2005, he performed "Fill the World With Love," and "The Impossible Dream," broadcast worldwide on Hour of Power. He has been a frequent guest since his first appearance April 2002, that included a live interview with Dr. Robert H. Schuller, with vocal performance of "God Bless America" and "The Lords Prayer." [38][39][40][41][42] In June he performed his debut with the Boston Pops Orchestra at Symphony Hall. In 2005 he appeared at the West Point Cadet Chapel at the United States Military Academy, New York, performing with the cadets to record "into The Fire" for the CD/DVD "Stand Ye Steady: Songs of Courage and Inspiration." September of that year Rodríguez appeared as part of promotion of that CD/DVD on nationally broadcast QVC, performing "Into The Fire." [43][44][45]

September 11, 2006, Rodríguez appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno where he performed “Amazing Grace” accompanied by professional pianist, Mike Garson.[46] December 2008, he made a return appearance, performing at the 51st National Football & College Hall of Fame Foundation Annual Awards Dinner, that honored individuals as Lou Holtz, U.S. Senator John Glenn, T. Boone Pickens, and other college standouts and head coaches.[47] In 2009, Rodríguez performs a number of concerts in tribute to legendary singer, Mario Lanza. on the 50th anniversary of his death. September 2009 through May 2010 he begin a nationwide tour across America, performing in over 110 cites, with a repertoire of his life's journey through music. Rodríguez, accompanied by pianist, author, composer Gail Smith, followed by jazz pianist Jesse Lynch, will be joined by sopranos Marla Kavanaugh Rodríguez and her twin sister Marissa Dikkenberg. [48][49][50][51][52]

August 2010, Rodriguez performed “God Bless the USA”, “You Will Not Walk Alone”, and “God Bless America” at a New York City rally against the building of an Islamic mosque near Ground Zero.[53] February 2011, he performs at Opera Tampa's "Night of Stars" gala to honor Placido Domingo.[54] 2011 brings a new repertoire of Jazz, with a series of performances with the Jesse Lynch Trio.[55][56] 2011 also brings collaberation with Andy Cooney, and Michael Amante as "The New York Tenors" in a series of concerts. [57][58]

Capitol and presidential performances

In May 2002 Rodríguez performed in Washington D.C. at the National Law Enforcement Officers memorial, where President Bush paid tribute to him with the following words: "I want to thank Daniel Rodríguez for lending his fabulous voice in tribute after tribute to the greatness of America.[59] He performed at Ford's Theater Gala Celebration in 2002, attended by President George W. Bush.[60][61] Other Capitol Hill performances were the National Memorial Day Concerts in Washington D.C. in 2002 and 2006 with conductor Erich Kunzel, and the "Celebration of Freedom" concert in January, 2005, honoring Bush's second inauguration as President. He performed at the 2011 National Memorial Day Concert in Washington DC under direction of Jack Everly.[62][63][64][65] He also appeared at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City's Madison Square Garden where he performed "Amazing Grace.".[66][67] In June 2007, he performed the National Anthem at the Jefferson Memorial, next to Challenger, for the delisting ceremony of the American bald eagle.[68] As part of the 2007 Summer Music Festival, Rodríguez performed a solo concert, accompanied by classical pianist Victoria Ulanov, at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington D.C.[69]

International appearances

September 11, 2003, Rodríguez was seen on the British TV show Today with Des and Mel hosted by Des O'Connor and Melanie Sykes, where he did an interview reflecting on events of September 11, 2001 as well as a performance of "Be My love," to a live studio audience.[70][71] In November 2004, Rodríguez traveled to Monaco at the invitation of the IPA (International Police Association), for their 10th Anniversary Gala. Along with the Pipes and Drums unit of the Chicago Police Department, he sang at the royal palace for Albert II, Prince of Monaco,[72] and at a requiem mass for Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco.[73] Beginning in 2004, he has performed in concert in New Zealand in numerous cities, including Wellington, Feilding, and Dunedin.[74][75] Rodriguez traveled to Aichi, Japan for the 2005 Expo 2005 World's Fair, where he performed at the US Pavilion.[76] He appeared in multiple Christmas tours during those years in the Netherlands. In 2008 he performed with Sharon Kips and Jimmy Earl Perry during the Hour of Power Kerstconcerten.[77][78][79][80] January 2009, he appeared on TV NZ for a live interview discussing events at the upcoming inauguration of U.S. President elect, Barack Obama.[81] In 2009 Rodríguez also performed in New Zealand with his wife in a "Legendary Lanza" concert tour.[82][83] In 2010 he performed in New Zealand at the Queenstown Winter Festival.[82][83][84]

Opera performances

Rodríguez made his operatic debut as Canio in Ruggero Leoncavallo's Pagliacci in New York City with the Chelsea Opera in June 2006. New York Times music critic Anthony Tommasini wrote, "it was impossible not to respond to his portrayal. When he sang the touchstone aria,Vesti la giubba, venting Canio's grief and humiliation, you sensed that here was someone pouring out years of pent-up artistic longing." [15][85][86] In 2007 Rodríguez performed again as Canio with Granite State Opera Company in New Hampshire, where he was awarded "2007 Best Performance of a leading male", by Opera online magazine. Paul Joseph Walkowski of Opera Online wrote of that performance by Rodriguez: “electrifying, pure magic, pure energy, pure emotion and blazing in glory. As Canio he stood in a class by himself: a star of easily recognizable magnitude and a force to be reckoned with on the opera stage.” [87][88] In 2008 at the Opera of the Hamptons, Southampton, New York, Rodríguez sang the role of Turridu opposite international soprano Cristina Fontanelli, in Pietro Mascagni's one act opera, Cavalleria Rusticana.[89][90]

Personal life

Daniel is married to Marla Kavanaugh, a soprano who has performed around the world in concert and in opera. She was born in Dunedin, New Zealand and began her stage career at the age of five. Daniel and Marla have a permanent residence in New York, and travel the world performing together. They have one daughter born in New Zealand in 2009.[91] Daniel has a son and daughter from his first marriage.[92][93] He lists fishing as his favorite pastime, and is also an experienced scuba diver.[94]

Philanthropy and charity work

Daniel Rodriguez 2 by David Shankbone.jpg

Rodríguez has made appearances for The City of Hope National Medical Center, Duke University Hospital Children's Center, and is a regular at fundraising events for The Jimmy V Foundation for cancer research, and the Hilton Head Celebrity Golf Tournament to benefit children's charities.[95][96][97][98][99] He has performed for the annual New York Tunnel to Towers run to benefit the Stephen Siller children's foundation, and the Community Mayors Organization to benefit disabled children, where he is an honorary board member.[100][101] He is a regular performer at Loma Linda University Medical Center Children's Hospital annual fundraisers, and in 2009 performed in concert with Broadway soprano Laurie Gayle Stephenson.[102][103][104]

Broadcast on PBS August 2002, titled "Spirit of America" a benefit concert for the Scoliosis Care Foundation taped at Caesars Atlantic City, starred Daniel Rodriguez, guest performances by Linda Eder, Arturo Sandoval, Phoebe Snow, and Aprile Millo, orchestra conducted by Tom Scott.[105] In 2003 Rodriguez performed In Appleton Wisconsin, at the International Community Partnerships Conference Security Through Stability featuring former Soviet Union President and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Mikhail Gorbachev.[106] The following year he traveled to New Zealand for his debut tour, where he sang at a benefit for victims of recent flooding in that country.[107] In May 2005, Rodriguez sang at a fund raising concert on the second season of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,[108] and has appeared in concert to raise funds for the Pinellas Youth Symphony in Florida.[109]

He has been a long time supporter of the United Service Organization with appearances at fundraisers, as well as visiting troops at military hospitals. In 2005, he began a project called "Songs for the Soldiers", to provide music in USO care packages for American troops overseas. He has donated thousands of his CDs and also raises funds for this effort by producing his own concerts. He also volunteers at the USO warehouses filling the care packages, and distributing them to the departing troops.[110][111][112]

He performs at retirement communities, for police and firefighter support events, and for veterans causes, including appearances with the VA-National Medical Music Group.[113][114][115][116] October 2006, New York City, Rodríguez kicked off World Children's Day at McDonalds, joined by 'Dancing with the Stars' winner Emmitt Smith, runner-up Mario Lopez, the Duchess of York and other stars at anniversary event supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities. He performed "Aren't They All Our Children," written by 14-time Grammy award winner David Foster in honor of World Children's Day at McDonald's.[117] December 2008 Rodriguez performed in Stamford, Connecticut, joined by Police, U.S. Marines, and prominent stars from the World Wrestling Entertainment to support a special "Toys for Tots" event.[118]

Rodríguez, named as "Goodwill Ambassador" also supports the work of "Heart for Children" located in Pretoria, South Africa and their sister organization located in the Netherlands. His concert tour "Kerstconcerten 2008" with Hour of Power in the Netherlands, as well as his 2008 CD release, I Believe, donates profits to benefit Hart Voor Kinderen.[119] On February 14, 2010, Rodríguez was honored by the Sacramento Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution with the presentation, by Don Littlefield and Tom Chilton, of the NASSR Silver Good Citizenship Medal.[120]

January 2011, Rodriguez performed with his family in Greymouth New Zealand for families of the 29 miners killed in underground explosions in November 2010.[121][122][123]

Honors and awards

  • 2002 Disney Humanitarian award.[124]
  • 2003 The first Raul Julia Award, by the Puerto Rican Family Institute, in appreciation of his charitable work.[125][126]
  • 2004 Monaco IPA Association Humanity Award [127]
  • 2007 Queens Centers for Progress Humanitarian Award for his philanthropic spirit and commitment to making a difference in the life of all Americans.[128][129]
  • 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from the USO for his work on the Care Package Program.[132]
  • 2008 Honored by "Stars" page for inclusion on USA Patriotism site.[133]
  • 2009 Selected as Goodwill Ambassador for Hart voor Kinderen for his humanitarian efforts [119]
  • 2009 National Award Recipient: Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge Broward County Chapter [134]
  • 2010 SAR Silver Medal for Good Citizenship: Sacramento Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.[135][136]

Career timeline

  • 1976 - Acceptance at The American Youth Repertoire Company in Manhattan to study music and performance
  • 1980 - First Carnegie Hall recital
  • 2001 - Invitation by Plácido Domingo to study with him, after hearing his voice at "Prayer for America."
  • 2001 - Signs first recording contract with EMI/Manhattan Record Company for a single, plus two full albums
  • 2001 - Release of 2-track single album "God Bless America"
  • 2002 - First vocal performance on a national stage at Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City Utah.
  • 2002 - "Spirit of America" album released and goes to #1 on Billboards Classical Crossover chart
  • 2002 - PBS broadcasts "Spirit of America" concert from Caesars Atlantic City
  • 2002 - First public symphonic concert, Heinz Hall with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
  • 2002 - Performance in concert tribute to New York, at the Hollywood bowl
  • 2004 - Sang at the Republican National Convention in New York City, Madison Square Garden.
  • 2004 - Performed in Monaco for Albert II, Prince of Monaco and members of the royal family
  • 2005 - Sang at the Celebration of Freedom" concert at the inauguration of U.S. President G. W. Bush
  • 2005 - Release of album "In The Presence" with Blix Street Records
  • 2006 - Operatic debut as Canio in Pagliacci with Chelsea Opera Company, New York
  • 2007 - "Best performance 2007" by Operaonline, as Canio in Pagliacci, Granite State Opera, New Hampshire
  • 2008 - Performance in Cavalleria Rusticana, sings role of Turridu, Opera of the Hamptons, New York
  • 2009/2010 - 117 city concert tour across America
  • 2011 - Begins series of concerts as member of "The New York Tenors"

Discography

Daniel Rodríguez

Title Year Label Notes
God Bless America 2001 Manhattan Two track single, God Bless America arranged and produced by Tom Scott: We Will Go On arranged and produced by Joe Mardin. A spoken introduction by then-New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Record profits donated (over $150,000) to the Twin Towers Fund to benefit survivors of the September 11 attacks
Spirit of America 2002 Manhattan Produced by Tom Scott: Joe Mardin produced track We Will Go On. Album Goes to #1 on the Classical Billboards chart[137]
From My Heart 2003 Manhattan Produced by Tom Scott. Includes duet The Prayer with Kristin Chenoweth
Be My Love 2003 Manhattan Produced by Tom Scott. Internationally released, includes duet The Prayer by Isobel Cooper
In The Presence 2005 Blix Street Records Produced by David Rideau, Daniel Rodriguez, Terry Rindal. Includes duets with Lea Salonga, Panis Angelicus and Pie Jesu
I Believe (international version) 2008 Limited international release produced by Hour of Power, The Netherlands. www.hourofpower.nl/ Ex.Producer Louis Pool, Herman de Vaal. Includes duet The Prayer with Marla Kavanaugh. Recorded live in Grote Kerk Apeldoorn December 2007, by HofBV, Haren. Profits to support "Hart voor Children" organization in Pretoria South Africa.
I Believe (U.S. version) 2009 Blix Street Records Released in the United States in 2009, produced by Louis Pool.

Various with Rodríguez tracks

Title Year Label Notes
The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Classical Music of America 2002 EMI Music Special Markets, ASIN: BoooEMDV4Q Rodriguez track 'God Bless America
New Found Freedom 2003 Higher Octave produced by Tom Scott. Rodriguez track Everything must change
Yuletide Celebration 2004 Produced by Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; Rodriguez track Oh Holy Night
A tribute to Ronald Reagan 2004 Capitol Records Rodriguez tracks God Bless America, America The Beautiful
Stand Ye Steady 2005 Curtain Call Productions Rodriguez track "Into The Fire"
The Best of Johnnie Carl 2006 Produced by the Crystal Cathedral, Rodriguez track On Eagles Wings
The Sounds of Freedom and Faith 2007 Produced by the Crystal Cathedral, Rodriguez tracks America the Beautiful, An American Hymn
The Very Best Musical Moments of the Hour of Power 2008 Produced by the Crystal Cathedral. Rodriguez track Nearer My God To Thee
Amazing Grace 2011 JQZ Musiekproducties - QCD 3375 Released In the Netherlands. Executive Producer Jan Quintus Zwart. Compilations Martin Zonnenberg. Distributed by Sabra Harderwijk (NL)

See also

  • List of famous Puerto Ricans

References

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