The Bow and the Brush

Created by violinist/composer Dan Flanagan, The Bow and the Brush integrates the visual arts with new music. Dan commissions and composes new works of music inspired by paintings and sculptures. Images of the artworks that inspired the compositions are projected during the performance. The Bow and the Brush has been performed in New York City, San Francisco, Berkeley, Sacramento, Oakland, San Diego, Riverside, Eugene, Denton, Houston, Boston, Chicago, Reno, Carson City, Rome, Zagarolo, Perugia, Frosinone, Paris, Bordeaux, and London.  Select performances include traditional repertoire paired with period paintings.

“When the pandemic shutdown began and we were all stuck at home, like so many musicians, I spent my time playing solo pieces on my violin. I felt happier than most because I did this while looking at the dozens of paintings on my walls I had gathered over many years. Combining the two was an inevitability. I began composing pieces inspired by these paintings, then commissioned my favorite composers to do the same. The feelings I experience when viewing a painting or hearing music seem to be generated from the same place, and therefore feel connected. The colors of paint relate to the colors of tone, and the texture of brush strokes relates to the articulation of bow strokes. Although I hadn’t planned on doing anything like this before the Covid shutdown, it now seems like the obvious result of my life thus far. I began commissioning chamber works as well, and now with over 30 new compositions, we’re thrilled to be spreading the work of living composers and artists around the world.” – Dan Flanagan

SPRING 2024: The spring tour was a great success, with Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Center for New Music in San Francisco, and Boston University, followed by a European tour that included Paris, Bordeaux, Rome, and Frosinone!  We’re also in the midst of recording The Bow and the Brush Volume II.

“Flanagan played with a robust and vibrant sound” (New York Classical Reviews)

The album The Bow And The Brush has been released on MSR Classics and is available on CD and major streaming platforms.

Dan Flanagan’s newest album on MSR Classics, The Bow and the Brush, features 14 Premieres for Unaccompanied Violin by composers Edmund Campion, Cindy Cox, Shinji Eshima, Dan Flanagan, Jose Gonzalez Granero, Peter Josheff, Libby Larsen, Linda Marcel, Jessica Mays, Evan Price, James Stephenson, Nathaniel Stookey, and Trevor Weston.

“This release is many things, but primarily it is a virtuoso exposition of violin playing from Flanagan, and a celebration of what is possible when art and music intersect. Bravo.” -Fanfare Magazine (January, 2024)


“The exceptional violinist Dan Flanagan fleshes out 14 solo pieces inspired by paintings and sculptures…. a very accomplished body of work from one of today’s most luminous violin players.” -Take Effect (December, 2023)

 “So happy to report that the intrepid violinist puts on a master class of exemplary technique, insightful interpretations and an immediately felt devotion to canvases of both sound and art.” -James Wegg Review (December, 2023)

“Flanagan has solidified his position as one of the country’s most talented interpreters of contemporary music.” -International Journal of Music (October, 2023)

“Flanagan’s performances are expectedly committed with a sense of joy inherent throughout these different works that is one of discovery and challenge.” -Steven Kennedy Music (September, 2023)

“As expected, a panorama of violin techniques is presented in the performances, and consequently one comes away from the project well-impressed with Flanagan’s musicianship and versatility. It’s a fascinating project.” -Textura (September, 2023)

Also: Check out Dan’s interview about The Bow and the Brush with Vents Magazine and his article, Rhapsody in Discomfort, about leading a music career with a chronic illness. It has recently been published in New Music Box by New Music USA.

Shadow Breaking, 2020

Composed by Nathaniel Stookey
Painting by Rachel Dwan
Performed by Dan Flanagan

An Animated Street in Autumn, 2020

Composed and performed by Dan Flanagan
Painting by Jean-François Raffaëlli

Oil on Canvas, 2020

Composed by Michael Panther
Performed by Dan Flanagan
Painting by Paul Gibson

“Timeless” Rhapsody in Discomfort #5, 2020

Composed by Dan Flanagan
Performed by Dan Flanagan
Sculptures by Sean O’Donnell

Inevitable Entails, 2020

Composed by Dan Flanagan
Performed by Dan Flanagan and Vicky Ehrlich
Art by Beth Davila Waldman

“Ehrlichia,” Rhapsody in Discomfort #6, 2021

Composed by Dan Flanagan
Performed by Trio Solano
Painting by Nancy Schroeder
Video by Tritone Films
Paid for by a grant from InterMusic SF