Since 2010, Hajdu has been increasingly active as a songwriter and librettist for concert music. The first album of songs with his lyrics, Waiting for the Angel, was released in August 2015 for Miranda Music. It has 11 songs with music composed by Renee Rosnes, Fred Hersch, Jill Sobule, and Michael Leonard. The album features the singers Jo Lawry, Karen Oberlin, and Michael Winther, the pianists Renee Rosnes, Fred Hersch, and Tedd Firth, and other musicians. (A digital-only release on iTunes includes a bonus track with music by Renee Rosnes.) A concert of the music was organized for performance at the Rockwood Music Hall.
As a lyricist, Hajdu works primarily with the composer, pianist, and arranger Renee Rosnes. In addition, he has written several songs with Fred Hersch, including “Good Things Happen Slowly” and “Do You Think This Happens Every Day.” He has also written some songs with Jill Sobule, including ‘The Angel in the Attic” and “Bad Idea.”
Hajdu co-conceived and helped develop Sobule’s song cycle Dottie's Charms, which includes lyrics by Jonathan Lethem, Luc Sante, Mary Jo Salter, Sam Lipsyte, Rick Moody, and others. The project was released on vinyl LP in April, 2014, and presented on the website for Harper's Magazine. The Harper's presentation includes illustrations by the artist Molly Crabapple and several short films inspired by the songs. In addition to helping to develop the project, Hajdu co-wrote two of the songs on Dottie's Charms: "I Swear I Saw Christopher Reeve" and "Women of Industry."
Songs with lyrics by Hajdu have been performed (and/or recorded) by the singers Jill Sobule, Mary Foster Conklin, Kate McGarry, Colleen McHugh, Tanya Moberly, and Marissa Mulder, as well as Hajdu's own favorite vocalist, Karen Oberlin.
The first full album of songs by Renee Rosnes and Hajdu, Ice on the Hudson was released on the SMK Jazz label in October, 2018. Titled Ice on the Hudson, the album features the singers Rene Marie, Karen Oberlin, Janis Siegel, and Darius De Haas, with musicians including Steve Wilson, Rogerio Boccato, Erik Friedlander, Ken Peplowski, Seamus Blake, Sean Smith, and Carl Allen. Renee Rosnes was musical director, arranger, and pianist.
Most recently, Hajdu wrote the libretto for The Parsonage: True Tales of Love and Anarchy at 64 East 7th Street, a nonfiction concept album released by Sunnyside Records in April, 2023. The project features original music by eight composers: Darcy James Argue, Theo Bleckmann, Regina Carter, Ted Hearne, Kirk Nurock, Renee Rosnes, Sarah Kirkland Snider, and Dan Tepfer. A premiere concert of The Parsonage was performed at the Museum of the City of New York on April 27, 2023.
|Rosnes-Hajdu song, "All But You," on new album, "She," by Nancy Harms.|
|Four songs with words by Hajdu on new album by Stacy Sullivan, 'Tornado Alley'; release concert at Weill Hall.|
|Karen Oberlin sings two Rosnes-Hajdu songs in new show named for one of their songs, “Confound Me.”|
|Two songs by Hajdu and Renee Rosnes performed at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.|
|Eric Comstock performs new Rosnes-Hajdu song, “I Like Pie,” at Birdland.|
|Singer Janis Siegel performs Rosnes and Hajdu song, “Ice on the Hudson,” on WBGO’s “Singers Unlimited.”|
|Song by Hajdu and Fred Hersch, “The Christmas Tree,” on new album “A New York Holiday.”|
|New song by Hajdu and Renee Rosnes, “Ice on the Hudson,” opens acclaimed show by Stacy Sullivan and Todd Murray at 54 Below.|
|Boston Conservatory Choral Ensemble records ‘Still,’ concert piece by Hajdu and Renee Rosnes.|
|‘Waiting for the Angel: Songs with Words by David Hajdu’|
|'Two songs with Hajdu lyrics in new show by Stacy Sullivan|
|'Sometimes a Bad Birthday Gift Has Its Uses' (New York Times)|
|Tanya Moberly show, "I Love New York Songwriters," wins Bistro Award, is finalist for Mac Award. Features Hajdu-Sobule song, "Bad Idea."|
|"Ice on the Hudson" (album)||Various Artists (2018)|
|"Waiting for the Angel" (album)||Various Artists (2015)|
|"Good Things Happen Slowly"||Karen Oberlin, single (2020)|
|"All But You"||"All But You" Nancy Harms, She (2020)|
|"Who Do You Belong To?"||Stacy Sullivan, Tornado Alley (2019)|
|"Confound Me"||Stacy Sullivan, Tornado Alley (2019)|
|"Ice on the Hudson"||Stacy Sullivan, Tornado Alley (2019)|
|"Good Things Happen Slowly "||Stacy Sullivan, Tornado Alley (2019)|
|"The Christmas Tree"||Various artists, A New York Holiday (2016)|
|"Lullaby for Nathan Charles"||Marissa Mulder, Illusions (2012)|
|"Do You Think This Happens Every Day"||Karen Oberlin and Sean Harkness, A Wish (2014)|
|"I Swear I Saw Christopher Reeve"||Jill Sobule, Dottie's Charms (2014)|
|"Women of Industry"||Jill Sobule, Dottie's Charms (2014)|