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David Vess is a New England-based composer, conductor and musician. His music has been characterized by a sensitivity to sonority, unrelenting energy and evocative narratives. The Brockton Enterprise described the premiere of his work, Ignite, as "a real barnburner." He was awarded the 2016 Roger Sessions Memorial Composition Award and was the winner of the 2014 Sinfonietta Composition Competition, both at the Boston Conservatory. Vess' music has been commissioned and performed in the US, Canada, Italy and Japan by ensembles and soloists such as the Brockton Symphony Orchestra, violinist Sharan Leventhal, cellist Kevin MacFarland, ShikiDuo, Boston Musica Viva, and the International Contemporary Ensemble.
David is a fierce advocate for new music, having conducted numerous premieres in the Boston area. He was the artistic director for Chimera New Music, a concert series local to Boston, where he managed and conducted several concerts featuring composers and performers from the Greater Boston community. He made his operatic debut by conducting the world premiere of Greg Nahabedian's chamber opera War is a Racket. He has served for 3 years as a guest conductor for the Boston Conservatory's Contemporary Ensemble kontraBAND, leading them in an annual concert of new works by student composers. He is currently serving as assistant conductor to Maestro Andrew Altenbach at the Boston Conservatory Opera Department.
As a tubist, David enjoys a varied stylistic career. From playing with the Dixie Diehards, Bailey Street Brass Quintet, and the Cape Ann Symphony, David savors leaping across genres. He is proponent of improvisation, performing with his improv ensemble, the Inner Ear Trio. He studied with Øystein Baadsvik in Saint-Irénée, Quebec at the Canadian Music Festival Le Domaine Forget for three summers. He is the principal tubist of the Brockton Symphony Orchestra.
Originally from Asheville, North Carolina, David holds degrees from the Boston Conservatory and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. David currently teaches tuba and composition at Bridgewater State University. He is also on staff at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee and Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. When not doing something music related, David enjoys learning about the Alexander Technique, hiking in NH and reading David Mitchell. He lives in Foxborough, MA.
a r t i s t i c s t a t e m e n t
The pieces that I create are not single entities, but all part of a greater collection. Each piece is like a patch of an enormous quilt. To that end, I don’t think that I am ever working on separate works, but rather on one piece of music, one universe of music, that grows like a great tree. Some are connected like leaves to twigs, and from twigs to branches. The work is just a stage of life, each work connected to the next, and it is one’s life that is the true work of art. To that end, I believe that we are also all connected, creating one massive tensegrity structure, each affected in some way by the other. In the words of Jean Sibelius: “If we understood the world, we would realize that there is a logic of harmony underlying its manifold apparent dissonances.”