Daniel Armstrong grew up in a musical household in Kitimat, B.C. An early photograph shows him and his brother Angus strumming ukuleles together. His career as a bass player began in 1959 when his father bought a plywood Kay bass from the local hardware store. Though his father intended the bass for the high school pep band, Dan was soon standing on a chair playing along with his favourite record by the Kingston Trio. Before he finally took a lesson on the instrument in his third year at the University of British Columbia, he had tried his hand at jazz in high school and developed a love for many other musical forms.
Graduating from UBC, Dan went on to earn a Master's degree from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Homer Mensch. He joined the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in 1979 and was appointed Assistant Principal bass of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in 1983. In addition to orchestral playing, Dan performed with Winnipeg's Music Inter Alia. In 1995 Dan joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, after twelve seasons with the Milwaukee Symphony.
Dan’s musical accomplishments are numerous. He was a founding member of both the period instrument ensemble Tafelmusik and Milwaukee’s contemporary music ensemble Present Music. He has performed as a soloist with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (including performances of his own compositions and arrangements). He has been featured as soloist and chamber music collaborator on CBC Radio and WFMT Chicago, and on recital programs at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. He is a frequent performer on MusicNOW, the Chicago Symphony's contemporary music series and he is a member of the Jason Seed Elixir Ensemble, a “jazz-rock-folk-classical-world-new music group,” which recently won an Independent Music Award for a CD in the jam band category. Dan Armstrong plays on a 1731 Camillo Camilli double bass.