Well known and performed often, composer David Garner’s body of work reflects his historical knowledge, theatrical flair and humor. Garner has been creating uniquely beautiful works for over three decades. With the 2013 premiere and release of "Vilna Poems" on the PentaTone CD label, "The Hours Begin to Sing", interest in his music continues to build. Ongoing projects include a full-length opera commissioned by Opera Parallele to be premiered in 2016, 4 song cycles of Holocaust poetry for the Jewish Music and Poetry Project, an anthology and recording of piano/vocal arrangements for the Persian Melody Project, a symphony, and a multimedia metal-fusion show in collaboration with singer/dancer Crystal Philippi. Learn More
"Surviving: Women's Words" to be recorded June 2015
Soprano Nanette McGuinness, pianist Dale Tsang, and cellist Adaiha MacAdam-Somer (the Jewish Music & Poetry Project) will record Garner's four song cycles written for the ensemble in June 2015: "Chanson fuer Morgen," "Phoenix," "Mein blaues Klavier" and "Song Is a Monument," as the culmination of their five-year, four-work commissioning project. The CD is to be released on Centaur Recordings in Spring 2016.
Cinq Hommages winner of Labor of Love Composition Contest
"Cinq Hommages" was selected as the winning composition in the category of "Best Overall Work" in the 2014 Labor of Love Composition Contest for Composers and Songwriters, a partnership between Sheet Music Plus and Hal Leonard Publishing, chosen from 2,800 total submissions.
Read more about the Labor of Love Composition Contest.
Four-city Hungarian Tour in in September-October, 2014
Soprano Nanette McGuinness and pianist Dale Tsang (Jewish Music & Poetry Project) will perform "Chanson für Morgen" (texts by Mascha Kaleko) and excerpts from "Song Is a Monument" (texts by Yala Korwin) as part of the Daniel Pearl World Music Days in Budapest, Tokaj, Pecs, and Kalocsa, Hungary, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Budapest.
McGuinness and Tsang will be joined by cellist Adaiha MacAdam-Somer for two premieres in 2014 and 2015 in San Francisco: Mein blaues Klavier, Garner's latestGerman-language cycle on poetry by Elsa Lasker-Schueler in April 2015 and Capriccio for cello and piano in November 2014.
Vilna Poems selected finalist in 2014 The American Prize for Composition
"Vilna Poems" (2013, for soprano, clarinet, violincello, and piano) has been selected as a finalist for The American Prize in Composition in 2014.
The American Prize celebrates American excellence in the performing arts. TAP sponsors a series of annual, national, non-profit competitions, selecting the best recorded performances of music in the United States by individuals and ensembles at professional, college/university, church, community and secondary school levels. TAP provides cash awards, professional adjudication and regional, national and international recognition to composers, conductors, ensembles, vocalists, pianists, chamber musicians and stage directors.
The American Prize has awarded more than $25,000 in all categories since 2010, and has welcomed applications from 46 U.S. states and from American citizens living throughout the world. Complete information about the competitions is available at the The American Prize website. Read more
Conservatory's Chinese-American Gestalt
March 15, 2014
Janos Gereben, San Francisco Classical Voice
"... Among the new works I heard — there were four world premieres — Garner's String Quartet No. 2 made the strongest impression. The Han Quartet, the improbably young-looking Shanghai faculty ensemble, gave it a splendid performance, coached by the composer himself. The four movements present a great variety in sound, but all reflect Garner's purpose of creating a synthesis of early 20th-century serial technique with present-day neo-tonality. Lest that sounds forbidding, be assured that effect of all the music is pleasant and easily accessible, Martinu meets John Adams — but thoroughly original material...." Read more
Scores now available online
Selected scores are now available for purchase online at Sheet Music Plus.
Three Carols to be recorded December 4, 2015
Soprano Lisa Delan, Baritone Lester Lynch, and the New Century Chamber Orchestra will record "Three Carols," for release in 2015.
SF-Shanghai Festival Returns to 50 Oak St.
The Shanghai faculty Han Quartet will premiere Garner's String Quartet No. 2 on March 13 at the SF-Shanghai Festival. The piece is "...an homage to the composers and performers who have contributed to the festival, including the Shanghai faculty Han Quartet who will perform its premiere. He calls the work a "synthesis of serial technique with modern neo-tonality" that begins with a twelve tone row and goes on to develop "a true 'pan-Pacific' flavor, with elements of American concert music, Latin America and China all combined." (Garner also manages to embed the Chinese folksong Kangding qingge into the serial framework.)..." Read more
Opera Parallele Commissions Full-Length, Two-Act Opera for 2016 Season
After a year of negotiations, Opera Parallele has commissioned David Garner to compose a two-act, full-length opera with a libretto by Mark Hernandez. Set in San Francisco's Barbary Coast in the 1880s and scheduled to open in 2016, this opera promises to be a long-overdue homage to the City of San Francisco's history and diversity, writ large.
The Hours Begin to Sing (CD REVIEW)
William Hadley, International Record Review
"Avram Sutzkever was a Lithuanian poet who endured two years in the Jewish ghetoo in Vilnius. His poems, written in Yiddish, are somobre, though the subject matter ranges widely. There is defiance there, and no self-pity. This mood has been skillfully recreated by David Garner in Vilna Poems, and the imaginative writing for the instrumental trio is a major part of this. David Krakauer's characteristic clarinet playing is particularly brilliant..."
String Quartet #2 to Premiere at International Chamber Music Festival
Garner's String Quartet No. 2, commissioned by the San Francisco/Shanghai International Chamber Music Festival, will be premiered by theShanghai Quartet in San Francisco in March, 2014, at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Blending Western post-modernism and Pacific Rim fusion, Garner's second quartet promises to be a seminal work in early 21st century chamber music.
Context Speaks Volumes at Berkeley's Jewish Music Festival
March 9, 2013
Jeff Dunn, San Francisco Classical Voice
“Vilna Poems / Akoka: The End of Time / In Commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising” read the title sheet of the Jewish Music Festival’s concert at Berkeley Repertory Theatre on Saturday...Garner’s musical language is simple yet subtle, tonal, and beautiful. The subjects of the poetry moved from love, to imprisonment, to digging pits for executions, to PTSD … and ended with rejuvenation. Soprano Lisa Delan’s lovely voice added its grace to the accompaniment of David Krakauer’s clarinet, Matt Haimovitz’s cello, and Kristin Pankonin’s piano. Read more
David Garner interviewed on KALW FM 91.7 on March 3 at 8:00 p.m.
Garner was interviewed by Sarah Cahill on her show "Then and Now" on KALW FM Radio 91.7 on Sunday March 3. The interview focused on his new work, Vilna Poems and his other upcoming projects. Listen to the broadcast.
San Francisco composer mixes poetry and melody in hybrid forms
July 16, 2012
Jonathan Farrell, Digital Journal
Persian percussion with kabbalah-like lyrics is what some might refer to as world music "fusion." Yet to composer David Garner, the better word to describe it is "hybrid." "Fusion is a dead term, affected and outdate," he said. Read More
"Vilna Poems" at the Jewish Music Festival in March -- World Premiere
---Lisa Delan, soprano, Kristin Pankonin, piano, David Krakauer, clarinet, and Matt Haimowitz will premiere Vilna Poems, a song cycle by the great Yiddish poet Avram Sutzker, composed in memory of Sylvie Braitman. the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In performance at the Jewish Music Festival on the Thrust Stage of the Berkeley Repertory Theater, 2025
Addison St., Berkeley, CA.
A Trio of Recordings for Summer 2012
---Spoon River Songs, with mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook and pianist Kristin Pankonin will be available on the web starting this fall.
---Vilna Poems (six Yiddish songs by Avrom Sutskever was recorded at Skywalker Sound, featuring Lisa Delan, Matt Haimovitz (cello), David Krakauer (clarinet) and pianist Kristin Pankonin. The cycle is now available on Penta Tone Classics, PTCS 186-459.
---The first CD of the Persian Melody Project, a collaboration between Garner and soprano Raeeka Shehabi-Yaghmai, was recorded at Fantasy Studios with pianist Kristin Pankonin, and will be published later in the fall, along with the sheet-music.
International Premiere in Berlin in October
Soprano Nanette McGuinness and pianist Dale Tsang-Hall continue to perform Garner's German song cycles around the Bay Area as part of the Jewish Music and Poetry Project, most recently in Berkeley, August 8, with cellist Adaiha Macadam-Somer.
McGuinness and Tsang-Hall will perform the international premiere of "Chanson für Morgen" (texts by Mascha Kaleko) in Berlin this October at the Lichtburg Forum in a multidisciplinary program, Mascha Kalekos Gedichte als Musik. Upcoming premieres in 2013 and 2014 will feature three other of Garner's German-language cycles on poetry by Rose Ausländer (working title "Phönix"), Yala Korwin and Elsa Lasker-Schueler.
"Phenomenal Woman" at Jazz at Lincoln Center
May 21, 2010
An Evening of American Song:And If the Song Be Worth a Smile
The Allen Room, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center
Lisa Delan, soprano, Kristin Pankonin, piano,
Matt Haimovitz, cello
"This concert of songs by six living American composers was presented by PentaTone Classics to celebrate its release of Lisa Delan’s recording of the program, also entitled “And if the Song be Worth a Smile.” Three of the composers – Gordon Getty, David Garner, and Luna Pearl Woolf – were present..."Read more
East Bay Symphony celebrates Persian New Year
Monday, March 17, 2008
"Michael Morgan and the Oakland East Bay Symphony threw an early New Year's party at the Paramount Theatre Friday night... a collection of Persian folk songs orchestrated by Bay Area composer David Garner, turned out to be a heady and touching revelation..." Read Review
Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle Music Critic
"Phenomenon": Music of David Garner available
Produced by Pentatone Classics - Released June 2009, featuring Susanne Mentzer, William Stone, Stephanie Friede, Francisco Araiza, Lisa Delan, Kristin Pankonin and members of the San Francisco Symphony.