Thursday, March 17, 2011 'David Sanford is the real thing, a composer in the American tradition of brash, open-eared exploration'

[David W. Sanford (]

Pianist Lara Downes thanked us for the latest post on her music with this message:

“Thank you Bill! Do you know David Sanford's music? Fabulous. You might want to profile him on Africlassical!
Best, Lara

Following the above link, we find that David W. Sanford is an Associate Professor of Music at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. The school's website says he specializes in “Music theory and composition; history of jazz.”
Faculty Bio (Excerpts)
“David Sanford credits a variety of influences with igniting his musicianship. 'I started on trombone when I was about ten and liked big band music early. I wanted to be a jazz musician. Charles Mingus inspired me to be a composer later on.'” “After completing undergraduate music studies at the University of Northern Colorado, he earned a master's degree in theory and composition from the New England Conservatory of Music and an M.F.A. and Ph.D. at Princeton University.

“Sanford has won many awards and honors, including a BMI Student Composer Award, a Koussevitzky Commission and a Guggenheim Fellowship, which enabled him to take a year off to focus exclusively on composing during graduate school. Recently, Sanford won the Samuel Barber Rome Prize Fellowship, allowing him to stay at the American Academy in Rome for 11 months with a group of 25 to 30 scholars in other areas of the humanities. One of the referees for his work wrote: 'David Sanford is the real thing, a composer in the American tradition of brash, open-eared exploration: no material is too exalted or too debased for him to transform into his living art.'

“Sanford's works have been performed by the Chamber Society of Lincoln Center, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Chicago Symphony Chamber Players, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Harlem Festival Orchestra, cellist Matt Haimovitz, the Corvini e Iodice Roma Jazz Ensemble, the Meridian Arts Ensemble, Speculum Musicae, the Empyrean Ensemble at UC Davis, Mount Holyoke faculty members Linda Laderach, Adrianne Greenbaum, and Larry Schipull, and dozens of other groups and performers.”

In 2008, David Sanford took part in the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, directed by Marin Alsop. Its website,, says David W. Sanford was born in 1963, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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