People always write their own bios. 99% of the time they’re written in third person in an effort to appear less self-aggrandizing, which they inevitably are. So let’s just dispense with the pretense, shall we?
Joliet, Illinois. Late May, 1954. Born the youngest of three children in a very conservative, somewhat musical, and monumentally strict religious family.
Felt like I got in trouble when Mom came into the little hallway-converted-to-upright-piano-room as I was playing and exclaimed, “David! I thought that was your sister practicing!” The piece was Debussy’s Clair de lune which I was mimicking by rote from my sister’s lessons. I was five.
Got packed off to weekly piano lessons. Dorothy Reid Holmstrom, strict technician and sergeant-like. But from the get-go she taught me to find the note on the keyboard, to read it from the page, and to write it on staff paper. I learned to notate.
Fast forward through middle school and high school, replete with school musical performances, creating scores for school productions, playing Schroeder in the local community theater production of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, and countless hours accompanying the church choir, Christmas and Easter cantatas, soloists and ensembles, funerals and weddings, and three weeklay services.
I wanted to attend Indiana University Bloomington. World-class music education, particularly in composition. We were poor. My brother, the eldest by a wide margin, had become academic dean at a miniscule Christian college in Seattle. I was jettisoned there directly out of high school.
My early school years had been difficult. Learning disability wasn’t codified as a diagnosis until 1963 – when I was 9. In college I didn’t fare much better. I was hoping for classes in arranging and counterpoint and orchestration. I got plunked into Music Theory 1. Clueless and cocky, I completed all the semester’s assignments in the first week, never went to class, and they flunked me! Can you believe it?
Cut to the chase: I have been blessed beyond belief to create music arrangements, compositions, and orchestrations for a whopping list of celebrity artists, choral organizations, symphonic and recording orchestras, pop vocal groups, cabaret performers, and theatrical events of all sorts. No, I won’t list them. Boring.
The first thirteen years of my writing career was spent hunched over a piano with grimy pencils, yellow sheets of music score paper, and piles of eraser shavings about. When the first personal computer was released — the Apple Macintosh with 1 whole megabyte of memory! — it wasn't long after that the first music notation software appeared on the market. Professional Composer, no less. I have kept up-to-date since with music technologies of all kinds, and marvel at the advancements now available to musicians across the spectrum. But I never forget those pencils and huge yellow sheets of paper. The music world has come a long way in that regard.
Very early on I became aware that music was what I would be doing the entirety of my life. As a kid, I didn't know how or what the application would be. But I knew it as solidly as I knew my own name. I love what I get to do. I have never tired of it. I feel like the most fortunate man on the entire planet. I've done this for fifty years now, and have learned so much — and learned there is so much more I have to learn. If you invite me to create music for you, I will treasure the opportunity as a gift. That's exactly what it is to me. And I will endeavor to return it to you as a gift, too.