Daniël de Lange was a son of Samuel de Lange Sr., organist in Rotterdam. He had his first music lessons with his father; at the Rotterdam music school he was taught by Johannes Verhulst (theory) and Simon Ganz (cello). He continued his studies at the Brussels conservatory with Adrien François Servais (cello), Berthold Damcke (composition) and J. Lemmens (organ).
In 1858 he undertook a concert tour with his brother Samuel Jr., starting in Vienna and continuing through the Habsburg Empire. Between 1860 and 1862 both brothers taught at the conservatory of Lemberg (Lvov). In 1862 they returned to Rotterdam, where Daniël was appointed successor of his former teacher Ganz. In 1864 he moved to Paris, where he embarked upon a career as organist, choral conductor and teacher. Here his first compositions appeared in print.
At the outbreak of the Franco-German War in 1870, De Lange and his wife happened to be in Holland. They then decided to settle in Amsterdam. De Lange has since become a highly influential figure in Dutch musical life, working as a teacher, conductor, administrator and critic. In 1873 he founded a music school in Zaandam; in 1884 he joined Frans Coenen, Julius Röntgen and others in the foundation of the Amsterdam Conservatory. At this institution he taught music theory and history, before becoming its director in 1895.
As a conductor he has been associated with the ‘Amstel’ male choir (1873-1878), the Leiden ‘Toonkunst’ Society (1875-1911), and the ‘Caecilia’ Orchestra (1885-1889), with which he introduced Bruckner symphonies to Dutch audiences. In 1881 he founded a small a cappella choir, which has acquired an outstanding European reputation through its interpretation of Renaissance music.
De Lange has been a member of the board of organizations including the ‘Vereeniging voor Noord-Nederland's Muziekgeschiedenis’ (VNM, 1881-1913), and has been music critic for newspaper ‘Het Nieuws van den Dag’ from 1875 till 1913.
After his first wife Lide van Oordt had died in 1910, he married Anna Maria Gouda. Both grew enthusiastic about theosophy, causing De Lange to resign his offices in 1914, and (despite his advanced age) move to Point Loma in California, home to the Theosophical Society. Here he has taught at the Isis Conservatory of Music till his death in 1918.
De Lange’s most productive period as a composer where his Paris years (1864-1870). In this period he wrote his Requiem for choir and solo voices (1868); a Symphony in C Minor was published around 1875 as op. 4. Most of his other works are choral compositions and songs.