Dean of Music
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Faculty of Music
King Charles Court
Old Royal Naval College
As Dean of Music at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, David is committed to fostering innovation in the music conservatoire sector and brings a wealth of experience from his senior leadership roles in both higher education and the broader music industry. His work in education spans more than two decades, during which he also established his international profile as a music director, cellist, producer, writer, speaker and entrepreneur.
David’s achievements as music director include feature films, contemporary dance, theatre and opera. He is particularly passionate about contemporary dance and made his European conducting debut in Florence at Zubin Mehta’s Maggio Musicale where he collaborated with Oscar winning film director James Ivory and Merce Cunningham protégée Karole Armitage on an opera-ballet production that garnered widespread acclaim in the international press. He also served as musical director for Mikhail Baryshnikov’s Broadway performance of the ballet Last Lap with sets by celebrated artist David Salle.
For more than 20 years, David has been Music Director for Academy Award-winning Merchant Ivory Productions, working on such films such as The White Countess (Ralph Fiennes), Le Divorce (Kate Hudson), Jefferson in Paris (Gwyneth Paltrow) among others. He was the subject of a BBC documentary for his work on Jefferson in Paris and the New York Times praised his innovative approach to the film’s score. In the 2023 Merchant Ivory documentary, David is interviewed alongside Hugh Grant, Helena Bonham Carter, Vanessa Redgrave and others, discussing their artistic contributions and the legacy of director James Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant. He also served as music director for noted British actor James Wilby in his London theatrical directorial debut of E.M. Forster’s Maurice.
Prior to London, David was based in New York and active with many leading international period and modern orchestras and ensembles on three continents. He has collaborated with such artists as William Christie, Emmanuelle Haim, Robert White, Sophie Daneman, Sandrine Piau, Jean Paul Fouchecourt, Robert Mealy and Jaap Schroder. Outside of classical music, he has performed with such acclaimed Indian musicians as tabula virtuoso Zakir Hussian and has appeared with jazz composer and trumpeter Terrance Blanchard on Columbia Records. David has recorded and produced for EMI at Abbey Road Studios, Columbia, Sony, Grandstand, Helicon, and Milan Records and has been heard on radio stations WQXR New York and WGBH Boston.
Before joining Trinity Laban, David was a professor at the Royal College of Music, London. He is a voting member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a founding member of the UK Music Skills Academy. David maintains an active role in arts education nationally and internationally and contributes to the work of the Association Européenne des Conservatoires, Europe’s cultural and educational network reaching over 300 member institutions in 57 countries. David has been an external examiner for several higher education institutions, as well as a consultant and board member for UK arts and education institutions. He is a frequent presenter at various national and international conferences such as the Karajan Institute Salzburg, ELIA Amsterdam, Classical:Next, PRS for Music, UK Music, AEC and the Fulbright Commission. Alongside his research interest in conservatoire leadership and change management, previous research has included music consumption behaviour in the digital economy which has been widely cited and informed government policy in both the UK and EU.
David is a graduate of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and is connected to a rich musical heritage through studies with notable soloist and chamber musicians Stephen Kates, Leon Fleisher, Mstislav Rostropovich, Anner Bylsma, Lawrence Lesser, Carter Brey, Nathaniel Rosen, Frederick Prausnitz, Valentine Berlinsky along with the Borodin and Julliard String Quartets. David also holds an MBA and is currently completing his Doctorate in Higher Education Management.
He performs on the Beatrice Harrison “Nightingale” violoncello which was used during the historic first live BBC broadcast in the 1920’s.