Well-known and often performed, composer David Garner’s body of work reflects his historical knowledge, theatrical flair and humor. Garner has taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music since 1979, acting as chairman of the Department of Musicianship and Music Theory for 16 years. Trained as a pianist and cellist, Garner has performed from the solo classical concert stage to jazz-rock fusion bands. A composition autodidact, Garner’s recent accomplishments include winning the 2015 American Prize in Composition, a Silver Medal for the 2016 Global Music Awards, finalist for the 2014 American Prize, and winning the 2014 Hal Leonard Labor of Love online publishing prize.

Garner’s vocal chamber music and art-song is featured on Pentatone Classics: the 2009 solo album, Phenomenon, and other vocal chamber masterworks on And if the Song be Worth a Smile, The Hours Begin to Sing, December Celebration, and the just-released Out of the Shadows. In April 2016 Centaur Records released the critically acclaimed Surviving: Women’s Words, a CD comprising four of Garner’s song-cycles setting poetry by women survivors or contemporaries of the Holocaust.

Garner has just completed his two-act opera, Mary Pleasant at Land’s End. Set in 19th-century San Francisco’s Barbary Coast, with libretto by long-time friend and collaborator tenor Mark Hernandez, the work is an intense drama of historical fiction. The San Francisco Conservatory will mount a workshop of the full opera January 14th, 2017.

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Mary Pleasant at Land's End to receive workshop musical production in January 2017

What do New Orleans, San Francisco, Slavery, Equal Rights, Opera, Voodoo and YOU have in common? Through this opera, you will meet the woman who has been unregocognized until now for her efforts and achievements in making San Francisco what it is today—the most diverse City in the world. Poised to become the most historically relevant opera of the 21st century, we hope you will help us bring it to life for all the world to know, hear and see. View an excerpt on YouTube.


Support the production's GOFUNDME campaign.



"Surviving: Women's Words" CD with Ensemble for These Times (Nanette McGuinness, Dale Tsang, and Adaiha MacAdam-Somer) awarded a Silver Medal in the 2016 Global Music Awards


See the complete list of winners here




Third review of"Surviving: Women's Words" CD with Ensemble for These Times reviewed

September 1, 2016
Grego Applegate Edwards, Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review (Gapplegate.com)

"The music is modern-expressionist, moving, well wrought. Nanette McGuinness is the soprano featured throughout....She is joined by pianist Dale Tsang, and cellist Adaiha  MacAdam-Somer for two of the four cycles. Both are well suited to the music. The heartrending words put both darkness and hope in a poetic light. Garner's music brings out the moods and is extremely well done. Recommended." Read more.

"Surviving: Women's Words" CD with Ensemble for These Times reviewed (CD REVIEW)

September/October 2016
Erin Heisel, American Record Guide.com

A "fascinating project..." " Garner's music is difficult but compelling, varied and harmonically interesting. Particularly striking is "Such Innocent Words" (poem by Yala Korwin), where the colorless spoken texts are punctuated by the cello and piano in a way that creates a dark, contemplative atmosphere. I don't usually see the point of spoken texts in songs, but this is very effective..."
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April 8, 2017
7:30 p.m.

Cinq Hommages: Albeniz
Noe Valley Ministry,
1021 Sanchez St.
San Francisco, CA

April 10, 2017
7:30 p.m.

Trio for Five Instruments
World Premiere
SF Conservatory of Music,
50 Oak St.
San Francisco, CA

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