David McMullin is a contemporary composer with a medieval mindset. He describes his approach to music as sacramental—as a tactile experience to connect us with the Divine. Each composition is a kind of prayer, designed to unlock a spirit of wonder for each listener. “Beautifully free” while possessing a “vivid internal drive” (Hudební Rozhledy, Prague), his music plays with our sense of time and silence. Listeners have described it as spell-casting, kaleidoscopic; mysterious yet purposeful, and centered in ways that make the unexpected feel inevitable.
David’s compositions have been performed in the United States by such ensembles as Talujon, the New York Virtuoso Singers, Mimesis and Collage New Music. Internationally, his works have appeared at new-music festivals from Hong Kong to Odessa, Trieste and Kazan. At the festival Třídení in Prague, the Czech composers group Atelier 90 presented a full evening of his works.
David’s music often explores improvisation in multidisciplinary settings. A collaboration with the Boston fringe theater company Whistler in the Dark won an IRNE Award from the Independent Reviewers of New England. Current projects include a residency with a stroke rehabilitation group to create a composition for patients and professional musicians to perform together, and The Luminous Mysteries, a large-scale religious work in progress for chorus and orchestra.
A recipient of a Live Arts Boston grant from The Boston Foundation, the Aaron Copland Award, ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, and MacDowell Colony Fellowship, David holds a Ph.D. in music theory and composition from New York University (NYU) and a Bachelor’s degree in music from Yale; he studied with Louis Karchin, Brian Fennelly, Charles Wuorinen and Andrew Imbrie.
In addition to composing, David has served the music world in a wide variety of roles. He has taught music theory at New England Conservatory (NEC), Northeastern University and NYU, and has led new-music ensembles and composer organizations including the League of Composers/ISCM, the American Composers Forum New England, and Collage New Music. For four years, he guided the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) as a member of its Executive Committee. Formerly Director of Institutional Giving at NEC, he now offers consulting services to arts organizations, with a focus on non-profits that serve disadvantaged communities and youth by harnessing the mysterious power of music and art.