"David Brunner's music is lyrical, fresh-sounding and always creative.  His music is a favorite with the choir as well as the audience!"

Lynne Gackle
School of Music
Baylor University

Newsletter Sign Up
  * Your Email:
  * Enter the security code:



New Launch of Simple Boat

Ron Ellis' new transcription of SIMPLE BOAT is simply stunning!  It was premiered today, under his direction,  by the University of Central Florida Symphonic Wind Ensemble, at the national convention of the American School Band Directors Association in Orlando.  Since my music (I thought) is inseparable from the words and emotional intent of the text, I was curious to see if it would translate as a purely instrumental work.  The colors that Ron coaxed from the ensemble in his exquisite scoring convince me that emotional content is inherent in the melodies, rhythms and harmonic language themselves; that form and architecture, gestures and turns of phrase, inevitability of harmonic rhythm all contribute to what we "feel" from the music.  I still know that the initial musical impulse, for me, comes directly from my response to the words (and thank Ron for including the texts in the players scores as they unfold).  I think and write poetically.   But I am also aware that emotion thus embedded in the musical language remains, whether or not the text is present.  I am honored by this transcription and the artistry our UCF students brought to the performance.


The Big Easy

Just home from Cheryl Dupont's marvelous Crescent City Choral Festival in New Orleans.  Cheryl and I worked with young singers from five states, culminating in a concert at the historic St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square.  The program included my PSALM 150, A SONG TO END ALL WAR, and A LIVING SONG.  Brava to Cheryl and her festival organizers for an outstanding weekend!  In addition to talented and eager singers, I enjoyed warm, southern hospitality and memorable seafood at the Palace Cafe, Bourbon House, Deanie's Seafood and the Redfish Grill, strawberry basil and lemon verbena ginger popsicles at Meltdown Gourmet Popsicles, a snowball (NOT snowcone) at Hansen's original 71-year-old location, and a beignet... or two.


Music For Friends

Much of my work is on commission, collaborations with new colleagues I’ve recently become acquainted with (or not yet met), or close friends with whom I have shared a long professional and personal history.  There are other times, however, when a new work happens for no reason other than I want -- and need -- to write something for someone dear to me. 

WELL SUNG SONG for my “second mom”, Sarah Schutte, is the most recent gift, just bestowed a few weeks ago.  It says what words alone cannot.  Friend and poet Scott Lounsbury describes our shared journeys and destiny in beautifully musical words.

ALL I WAS DOING WAS BREATHING was a dreamed-of project with my good friend Sandra Snow and her women’s chorus at Michigan State University, which she premiered at the 2009 national ACDA convention in Oklahoma City.  I was so taken by Dessislava Nenova’s cello performance in this piece, that I wrote a short solo cello work for her last year.

A LIVING SONG for Doreen Rao celebrated the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Choral Music Experience Institute for Choral Teacher Education in York, England in 2006.  IN THE BEAUTY WAY was also for Doreen at the 1997 Institute and TWO FOR FUN (Eletelephony and Mrs. Snipkin & Mrs. Wobblechin) were a gift of early pieces when I was an assistant director with her marvelous Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus.

I wrote a few birthday greetings and a wedding gift for long-time friend Jeff Reynolds.  He also initiated the THREE SONNETS OF JOHN DONNE (Batter My Heart, Three-Personed God, A Hymn to God the Father, At the Round Earth’s Imagined Corners), the SATB version of O MUSIC, and the large scale choral/orchestral work ODE TO THE PRESENT AND FUTURE DAYS, which he premiered at Canterbury Cathedral in the summer of 2000.

I THANK YOU GOD FOR MOST THIS AMAZING was written for Stephanie Mitchell Nash and her Women’s Glee Club, when she was a doctoral student at the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.

O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM was a surprise Christmas gift for my mom, sister and niece a few years back.

IF I COULD FLY was a gift for Bill Worrell, sculptor and friend from Art, Texas, whose work moves and inspires me.  This is actually an arrangement of a song he wrote and sent me.  A recording of him singing to his own guitar accompaniment with pinon fire crackling in the background is a treasured memento.

WINTER CHANGES was written for Dr. Robert E. Thomas, mentor and friend, who first introduced me to the young poet Emily Clare Forsythe by sending her poem in a Christmas card, saying she said I “had permission to set it to music if I liked”.  He, too, introduced me to ageless poetry, known by heart.  His recording of favorite poems is another special keepsake.  ACCEPTANCE was also written for Dr. Bob.

AFTER THE FIRE and IF I CAN HELP SOMEBODY were written for my own choirs at the University of Central Florida and first performed by them (and me).

THE US OF ME, my only authored text, was for Scott Sells, partner and friend.

Most of my Christmas music has been for me.  Whether there are fewer collaborative projects at this time of year, or because I have been drawn to interesting poetry of this season, many happened “just because”.  CHRISTMASTIDE, BEAUTIFUL STAR OF BETHLEHEM, THE SHEPHERD’S CAROL, WELCOME ALL WONDERS, CHAUNTECLEERE, DOWN IN YON FOREST, THE FRIENDLY BEASTS, STILL, STILL, STILL, IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER and NEVER A CHILD AS HE are all works I’ve just wanted to write.



Chorus America Consortium Commission

I just put copies of SPIRITUAL MUSICK in the mail last week to thirteen children’s choirs from the U.S., Canada and Scotland who “purchased” me last year at the Chorus America silent auction.  Auction organizer and friend Paul Caldwell didn’t have to persuade me to donate this in support of Chorus America’s work.  The piece is a quirky setting of Christopher Smart’s unusual text from Jubilate Agno, a long free-verse manuscript written between 1759 and 1763, during Smart's confinement for insanity in St. Luke's Hospital, Bethnal Green, London.  Benjamin Britten memorably used Smart’s text in his Rejoice in the Lamb, for SATB chorus and organ.  This version is set for treble voices with piano and a little band of snare drum, bass drum and triangle.  It’s a rhythmic, angular, declamatory recitation of the instrument rhimes (“For there is the thunder-stop, which is the voice of God direct. For the rest of the stops are by their rhimes.”)  SPIRITUAL MUSICK will premiere – thirteen times! – next season.  See the listing under WORKS:  Music for Treble Choirs for the names of the choirs and their directors.  I can’t wait to hear it!


Southern Gals Premiere

The Girl Choir of South Florida, directed by Wallis Peterson, presented their spring concert yesterday afternoon in Ft. Lauderdale and it was one of the most enjoyable concerts I’ve heard in a long while.  The concert, crafted around the theme of journeys and destinations, featured music from many cultures, backgrounds and traditions and in many languages.  All three choirs, from the youngest to most experienced singers joined together for the final “return home”, the premiere of SOUTHERN GALS.

SOUTHERN GALS is a medley of six folksongs originating, migrating, or having something to do with life in Florida, all from the perspective and experience of young women.  It was great fun to write (a first for me, the medley thing) and a joy to hear.  The Girlchoir staff, always mindful of the total audience experience,  projected vintage black and white photographs of equally vintage women, a great touch!

I admired the spirit of the singers, the dedication of the artistic and support staff, and their many proud volunteers and parents and was happy to have been a part of this happy celebration.  They have many outstanding years ahead of them!