Bio

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David’s music has been performed at venues around the world, including Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. He is from St. Louis, Missouri and received a B.M. in composition and trumpet performance from the University of Missouri – Columbia and a M.M. and D.M.A. in composition from Michigan State University. He has studied composition with Ricardo Lorenz, W. Thomas McKenney, and Stefan Freund. He is currently a course director at Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida, where he teaches Music Business Management and Critical Listening for Music Professionals. He has previously taught at Grand Valley State University and Michigan State University.

In 2007, David won the Michigan State University Honors Competition for Emulsion Quintet, and in 2006, he was a winner of the 54th Annual BMI Student Composer Awards for Elegy. He was a 2005 finalist in the Sinquefield Family Foundation Prize in Composition. He has been commissioned by Hastings College Symphonic Band, H2 Quartet, and others.

David is one of the founders of SoundNotionTV, a podcast network featuring audio and video shows about music and the arts. He previously served as founder co-Artistic Director of  SCENE&heard, a new music concert series at the (SCENE) Metrospace gallery in East Lansing, Michigan.

Music

The best music I know is both emotionally compelling and intellectually engaging. I try to write music challenges the audience without alienating them.

Falling up the down escalator (2009), saxophone quartet, duration 7’, premiered at the 2009 World Saxophone Congress at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand by the H2 Saxophone Quartet.
Recorded by the H2 Quartet on their album Times and Spaces, released March 2010.

Listen: SpotifyYouTube - Buy score: Gumroad

Voices 2 (2009), solo piano, duration 5’, premiered April 26, 2009 by Joel Thomas at Michigan State University.

Folding in (2008), orchestra, commissioned by the Tyler Youth Orchestra, duration 8’, premiered November 9, 2008 by the TYO, conducted by Ryan Ross, at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas.

Inner/Outer Monologue (2007), solo tenor saxophone, duration 8’, premiered April 18, 2008 by Jonathan Nichol at the North American Saxophone Alliance conference at the University of South Carolina.
Also performed at the 2009 World Saxophone Congress at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand by Jonathan Nichol.

Listen: SoundCloud - Buy score: Gumroad

Color me “Enchanted” (2007), violin, clarinet, tenor saxophone, and piano, duration 2’, premiered October 23, 2007 by Ji Hyun Kim, violin; Sara Stolt, clarinet; Drew Whiting, saxophone; and Jun Okada, piano at Michigan State University.

Greek Lyric Poems (2007), baritone, alto flute, and piano, text from Greek Lyric Poetry (trans. Sherod Santos), duration 15’, premiered May 4, 2007 by Joe Baunoch, baritone; Marissa Olin, Flute; and Kawai Chan, piano at Michigan State University.

Listen: SoundCloud

Voices (2007), solo trumpet, duration 4’30”, premiered May 4, 2007 by Mark Flegg, at Michigan State University.

Emulsion Quintet (2007), mixed chamber ensemble (clarinet/b. clarinet, soprano saxophone, horn, cello, marimba), duration 13’, premiered March 23, 2007 at Weill Recital Hall, New York City (2007 MSU Honors Competition-winning composition).

Also performed Oct. 1, 2007 by Musique 21, conducted by Raphael Jimenez at Michigan State University.

Elegy (2005), soprano, baritone, french horn, and string quartet, text from Elegy for My Sister (Sherod Santos), duration 18’, premiered April 15, 2006 at the University of Missouri (2006 BMI SCA-winning composition).

Projects

Steelpan and Wind Ensemble

Pan inside by shanelkalicharan on Flickr

My DMA dissertation at Michigan State was a concerto for steelpan and wind ensemble. The work is for a soloist playing a combination of lead pan and double seconds. The wind ensemble is a medium-small group of around 4o-50 players. I am not trying to emulate any traditional pan styles, though I do brush up against some jazz language in the third of three movements. The concerto is approximately 18 minutes long, and remains unpremiered (hint, hint). PDFs of the score and solo part are available.

I have a whole page about it here.

SoundNotionTV

I met fellow composers Patrick Gullo, Sam Merciers, and Nate Bliton in graduate school. After years of talking, arguing, and maybe a bit of ranting about classical music (contemporary and otherwise), we decided it might be fun to record these chats for…um…history? That show, SoundNotion, began in January 2011(ish). Since then, SoundNotion.tv has expanded, adding new hosts and shows on a variety of arts topics. Our shows include news, discussion, analysis, and interviews with composers, performers, bloggers, arts professionals, and basically anyone else we think might return our calls. Over the last few years, we’ve had some really interesting conversations with some really interesting folks, like Alex Ross, Jennifer Higdon, Augusta Read Thomas, and more.

Sampolin

Sampolin photo by Nate Bliton

I saw a presentation by composer and performance artist Laurie Anderson at the University of Missouri while I was an undergraduate student. In preparation for her residency, I learned about some of her past work, including an instrument she created, the tape-bow violin. The Sampolin is a digital version of Anderson’s instrument. It controls playback of audio samples on a computer. Here’s a video of a performance with me on Sampolin and Nate Bliton playing his own creation, the Bovalve. Here’s another video of me explaining the Sampolin.

Older Projects

These projects have been put out to pasture, but I’m still quite proud of them.

 

SCENE&heard

SCENE&heard is a new music concert series at the  (SCENE) Metrospace gallery in downtown East Lansing. Our goals are to bring what we (composers and performers of new music) do in the College of Music to a wider audience and to make it more culturally relevant.

Guidonian Hand

Guidonian Hand was a blog project that I started in 2008. Contributors to the blog included many of my composer and performer friends. I decided to start the blog after having a lot of interesting conversations with my friends about music, art, and culture. I wanted to use essays/blog posts to help me clarify some of my own ideas and present them in a clear and concise way. I let the site sit around fallow for many years so people could continue to read the thoughtful essays published there.

MSU Composition website and webcasts

In the fall semester, 2009, several MSU composers and I began webcasting concerts in the College of Music. Webcasts allowed us to share our performances with colleagues, family, and friends. More importantly, though, they offered an opportunity for people interested in new music to see what we were doing at Michigan State.

In December 2009, Sam Merciers and I designed a new website for the MSU Composition Area (http://comp.music.msu.edu). The website is not only a resource for prospective students, but also for current composers and performers at MSU and elsewhere. A point of personal pride on the website is the MSU New Music Finder, a web application that I designed and implemented to connect performers with MSU composers. It allows composers to enter works into a database that can then be searched by instrumentation, duration, and composer. The site also features a collaborative blog on which students and faculty alike could share their thoughts on new music and the projects we were working on in the department.

Folio

Folio is an art rock band made up of several of my composer/performer friends, including Nate Bliton, Ty Forquer, Sam Merciers, and Matt Schoendorff. We try to blend what we do in an academic setting with popular music. I actually don’t know much at all about popular music. These guys have to teach me about Led Zeppelin. (Weird, right? I don’t understand it, either.) Check out this video of us on YouTube.

Folio Publishing Cooperative

In 2008, I went to the North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference in Columbia, SC to hear the premiere of Inner/Outer Monologue. There were several sheet music retailers there, but there was one publisher in particular that had scores from one particular composer who has written a lot for the saxophone. That publisher’s booth was a table full of scores by this composer and a couple of iPods on which to listen to any of the pieces. I thought to myself, “Heck, I could do that.” Folio Publishing Cooperative is my version of that booth. FPC is a group of composers pooling resources to promote our music directly to performers. Our first try at this was March 2010 at the NASA convention.

Around the Web

Some might argue that I spend too much time on the Internet. Those people are probably right, but at least they're reading my stuff.

Contact

The best way to contact me is email. You can send me some by using this sweet contact form. Or, if you’d rather send me something fancy, here’s my address:

davidjohnmacdonald@gmail.com

I’m happy to set up a Skype chat if you’d like to talk face-to-face. Just send me a note; we’ll set up an appointment.