David Gompper
David Gompper

David Gompper

About David Gompper

The American composer David Gompper has written music in many genres, but is especially noted for his chamber compositions. Gompper is also a touring performer, playing music of his own and of other composers, and as an educator he has been an influential champion of contemporary music. Gompper was born in Columbia, South Carolina, on September 26, 1954. As an undergraduate he attended San Diego State University in California, studying piano performance and graduating in 1978. Gompper went on to the Royal Academy of Music in London, earning master's degrees in both piano performance and composition. Returning to the U.S., he completed a doctorate in composition at the University of Michigan in 1988. Gompper's early teaching career was varied, including stints at the University of Nigeria from 1980 to 1982 and the University of Texas at Arlington beginning in 1988. In 1991, Gompper joined the faculty at the University of Iowa, where he has remained ever since. In the same year he became director of the university's Center for New Music, where he administers a long tradition of concerts, tours, recordings, and appearances by guest artists. Gompper also tours with Austrian violinist Wolfgang Dávid as the Gompper-Dávid Duo, and the pair has recorded several albums. Gompper has written a Violin Concerto for Dávid and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, but most of his works are for chamber music combinations, including such unusual groups as bassoon, flute, piano, and percussion. He has used preexisting material from various sources, including works from various periods of the classical tradition and from music of the Hopi people (in Butterfly Dance, 2001); he seeks to use such material as a starting point for further elaboration rather than quoting it in a pastiche-like manner. In the words of Carson Cooman, "the most notable characteristic of Gompper's music is the deeply organic way he integrates simple material and its complex elaboration and development." Gompper has won several prestigious awards and honors, including an academic year in Moscow, Russia, as a Fulbright Scholar, an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York, and a Fromm Commission. His works have been performed at major world concert halls including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall in London, the Vienna Konzerthaus, and the Rachmaninov and Bolshoi Halls at the Moscow Conservatory. Since 1992 he has served as head coach of the University of Iowa men's rowing team. ~ James Manheim

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