David Garner SFCM Composition Faculty
  1. Faculty

David Garner


"...a heady and touching revelation." —San Francisco Chronicle


  • Private Lessons
  • Orchestration
  • Composition Workshop
  • Chamber Music: Strings and Piano
  • Chamber Music Performance
  • Composition Seminar


  • BM, San Francisco Conservatory of Music


  • Winner, American Prize in Composition (Chamber Music), 2015
  • Sarlo Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 1997

What is your hometown?

Lincoln, NE

Who were your major teachers?

Nathan Schwartz, Beatrice Beauregard, and Roman Dukson.

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

“There is nothing more terrifying than a blank piece of manuscript paper.”

What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?

I’ve always known.

If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?


From a music history perspective, what year and city are most important to you?

Paris 1910.

What are your most important collaborations?

Working with librettist Mark Hernandez for the opera Mary Pleasant at Land's End; with soprano Lisa Delan and pianist Kristin Pankonin for many vocal chamber music works and recordings (on-going); with Raeeka Shehabi-Yaghmai for the Persian Melody Project (on-going)

Who are three students you have had the privilege of teaching?

Shahab Paranj, Derek David, and Bobby Tahouri.

What recordings can we hear you on?

Phenomenon, Pentatone
The Hours Begin to Sing, Pentatone
Surviving: Women's Words, Centaur Records
Once/Memory/Night, Centaur Records
Citrus, Quadre Music Group

What is your unrealized project?

My 1st Symphony.


Composer David Garner (b. 1954) has taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music since 1979, and co-founded Ensemble for These Times in 2007. A composition autodidact, Garner's works have won the 2015 American Prize in Composition as well as several Global Music Awards.