composer, teacher, scholar


David Kirkland Garner writes music, plays banjo, studies fiddle, listens to jazz, hears everything, but suspects he knows nothing. Encompassing chamber, large ensemble, electroacoustic, and vocal works, his music reconfigures past sounds—from Bach to minimalism to bluegrass—into new sonic shapes and directions. He seeks to make time and history audible, particularly through an exploration of archival recordings documenting the musical traditions of the U.S. South.

Garner's first album, Dark Holler, was released in 2017 by New Focus Recordings. He has worked with world-renowned ensembles including the Kronos Quartet, which commissioned a work based on the music of the Scottish diaspora. Awards include a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, an ASCAP Young Composer Award, and first prizes in the OSSIA, Red Note, and NACUSA competitions. His music has been performed by the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Imani Winds, Ciompi Quartet, Vega Quartet, San Deigo Symphony, Locrian Chamber Ensemble, the Wet Ink Ensemble, the Boston New Music Initiative, and the yMusic ensemble.

Garner holds degrees from Duke University (PhD, 2014), University of Michigan (MM, 2007), and Rice University (BM 2005), and has taught music theory and aural skills at Duke, Kennesaw State, North Carolina State, and Elon Universities. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Composition and Theory at the University of South Carolina.

Interested in collaborating with


Additional info

Please check out my album Dark Holler on New Focus Recordings!