B i o g r a p h y
Derek David is a composer and music educator based in Boston, Massachusetts. His dramatic and vibrant chamber music has been performed in both Europe and the United States and has received great recognition from audiences and critics alike. Originally from Los Angeles, Derek developed a passion for music at a young age. His studies led him to The San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he received his Bachelor’s in composition (2008), where teachers included David Conte, David Garner, and Conrad Susa. Mr. David received his Master’s degree in composition (with honors 2010), and his Doctorate (2017) from the New England Conservatory of Music, working mainly with Michael Gandolfi. Additional mentors include Steven Stucky and George Tsontakis (Aspen Music Festival), and Philip Lasser (EAMA Nadia Boulanger Institute).
Derek David’s works have garnered praise in the US and abroad and have won several prestigious awards. Upon hearing Mr. David’s Viola Sonata, composer John Adams declared to be “dazzled by [David’s] capability and musicality, and his “masterful demonstration of technique.” In 2004, David received second place in the New Jewish Music competition hosted by the Bureau of Jewish Education for his setting of Jewish liturgical music for Chorus and Orchestra, and was recognized for the same work, Mi Camocha by The National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts. In 2007 Mr. David was a winner of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s New Art Song Competition for his setting of Walt Whitman poetry, As Adam Early in the Morning. His symphonic poem Elegy was premiered at the annual Musical Diplomacy concert in March 2009. David’s String Quartet (2011), has been met with international recognition and repeated performances. It was described by Sabino Pena of France’s Classiquenews.com as “a true musical jewel of the 21st Century.” The quartet was awarded the EAMA Nadia Boulanger Institute Prize in (2011) the Morton Gould ASCAP Award (2011), and first place by the American prize (2015). Mr. David was the recipient of the 2018 SFCM Hoefer Prize for his accumulative body of work from over the past 10 years.
Derek is currently the musical director of ‘A Besere Velt’ - אַ בעסערע װעלט, the largest of three choirs in the world dedicated to the performance and preservation of Yiddish repertoire. ABV proudly promotes a message economic, racial, and social justice.
As an enthusiastic educator, Derek has taught at theory and musicianship at the New England Conservatory, The Boston Conservatory at Berklee, and at The Walden School. He is currently a teaching fellow at Harvard University, as well as a Lecturer in Music at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For his work at Harvard, Mr. David is a five-time recipient of the Distinction in Teaching Award. His areas of interest also extend to Medieval theory and musicology, The Beatles, and Jewish Music.