David has taught and directed choirs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Yale University, Scripps College, Pomona College, and now at Chaffey College, where he runs the choral and vocal programs, teaches upper-level music theory and music history. He also runs the masters and doctoral programs in choral and orchestral conducting at Claremont Graduate University, where he teaches individual conducting lessons and supervises students’ recitals, comprehensive exams, and degree papers and theses. An inspiring and innovative teacher, his approach to directing college choirs is founded on respect for students’ abilities and potential. This respect manifests itself in high expectations throughout the process — not the unreasonable expectation that a nineteen-year-old should sound like a mature professional singer, or that busy students with diverse passions, interests, and obligations should devote every free minute to music. Rather, he encourages young musicians to think analytically about music, and to grapple with the compositional process. They share in the crafting of expressive details, empowering themselves as interpreters and performers of the language of music. He helps them see the web of connections between music and society, whether it be through the poetic text of a piece, the historical context of a composer’s work, or the socio-political implications of performing music from cultures and traditions other than their own. This approach is an organic one, an integrated part of the rehearsal process, and one that ultimately enhances performance. His approach also helps encourage avocational musicians’ lifelong engagement with music, while also preparing pre-professional students to be better performers, teachers, composers, and/or scholars.
David also has extensive experience making music with children, having spent three years as the director of Cantilena, the upper-intermediate girls ensemble of the Madison Children’s Choir (now Madison Youth Choirs) and then five years as a full-time middle- and high-school choir director at the Brearley School, a preparatory school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He now serves regularly as a clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor at high schools and youth choral festivals across Southern California.
An avid traveler, he has had regular summer residencies in China, most recently at Ningxia University, Baotou Teacher’s College, and Xiamen University (where, in 2015, he was named honorary visiting professor). While there, he lectures on American and European choral music and pedagogy, leads conducting masterclasses, gives solo vocal recitals, and conducts university choral ensembles in festival-style rehearsal intensives and performances.