Award Winning Professor, Daniel Catan, Dies Unexpectedly

by Cougar News Contributor 718 views0

Original Article Updated To Include Comment From COC Chancellor, Dr. Diane Van Hook:

College of the Canyons professor of music, Daniel Catan, died unexpectedly Saturday in Austin, Texas over the spring break holiday. He was 62.

The Los Angeles Times reports that he died in his sleep at his apartment in Austin. Authorities do not suspect any foul play was involved and a spokesperson from the university said that Catan was not suffering from any illnesses.

Daniel was teaching for a semester at the University of Texas and was working on a new opera.

Catan was born in Mexico City and studied philosophy and music in England and later received his doctorate from Princeton University. He eventually returned to Mexico and was an administrator at Mexico City’s Palace of Fine Arts.

Catan composed operas, ballets, and chamber music including “Salcipuedes”, “Rappachini’s Daughter”, and “Ausensia de Flores.” His heralded work for “Il Postino” opened at the Los Angeles Opera in September. Catan was awarded the Placido Domingo Award in 1998 and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2000.

Students and Faculty at COC are naturally in shock over his death. COC Chancellor, Dr. Diane Van Hook expressed her shock and sadness at Catan’s passing.

“In his time with College of the Canyons, he [Daniel] brought an unbelievable amount of credit to himself and, through him and his successes, brought the college to a position of high esteem throughout the state, the nation and, indeed, the world,” says Dr. Van Hook, “Daniel has also left a legacy that will carry on for generations. One of drive, mixed with creativity, and a willingness to take risks. That is a powerful combination that can accomplish many things, as Daniel proved time, and time again.”

The Butler School of Music at the University of Texas recently commissioned Catan to write an opera based on the Frank Capra film “Meet John Doe.”

Cougar News covered Catan for his work on “Il Postino.” You can view those stories below.

Daniel Catan Awarded for “Il Postino”
View Article
Dr. Daniel Catan – A Master at COC and Beyond
View Article

Stay tuned to Cougar News as the campus reacts to the death of Daniel Catan.

And if you knew Daniel as a student and would like to say something about him, you can email

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