Dr. David Arbury grew up in Washington, DC where he sang from age 9 as a boy treble at Washington National Cathedral in the Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys under Richard Dirksen and later, Douglas Major. He remained with the choir for eighteen years and in that time sang with every voice part. Through the 90s while still in the choir, he became active in DC’s thriving indie rock scene, playing drums and bass with several bands in the indie-punk community there.
He has worked at the Music Division of the Library of Congress, co-founded an independent record label, conducted small ensembles, and was a founding member of the early music vocal ensemble Icarus. He holds degrees in music composition from the University of Maryland, Arizona State University, and Haverford College. From 2001-2003 he was Composer-in-Residence for the Cathedral Center for the Arts at Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix, Arizona. He was Vice-President of the Contemporary Music Society in Tempe, Arizona and founded University of Maryland’s New Music Initiative. He has frequently appeared as a guest lecturer and speaker, has taught as an adjunct professor at Catholic University, the University of Maryland, and Los Angeles City College. He currently teaches at East Los Angeles College and Santa Monica College.
He is the principal composer for both Wolf Knife and Prominence Films production companies and has worked on most of their projects for film and video including the live orchestral original score for “Of Fortune and Gold” (2015) which won Best Picture at the Boston International Film Festival. His choral music has been performed by top choirs all over the U.S., including the Cathedral Choir of Washington National Cathedral. His choral works are featured on recordings from the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, DC and Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix, Arizona. His chamber music is available from New Ovation Music and Navona Records, and his instrumental and electronic compositions have been featured in conferences and festivals hosted by Crossing 32nd Street, The Society of Composers, the Percussive Arts Society, the University of Maryland, and LAVAL Virtual. He has received commissions and grants from numerous ensembles and organizations including the American Composers Forum, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Institute for Studies in the Arts, the Phoenix Arts Commission, Taffety Punk, and the Wolf Trap Foundation. His compositions for concert hall, church, dance, and theater have been performed throughout the United States and Europe.
The Formalist Quartet recording String Quartet no. 2
Life in Connection and Creativity
Without something to write about, there would be no music. When I am not composing, performing, or teaching, you might find me around the many neighborhoods of Los Angeles, seeking out art, music, or food from all over the world. Or I might be playing Dungeons & Dragons or a board games from my extensive collection with my friends and fellow creatives around the city. Or my wife and I might be elbow deep in clay at our downtown pottery studio collective. Or I might be simply home relaxing with my family and watching the latest Korean drama series. A life in the arts can be difficult and trying even at the best of times, and we do not live in such times. We experience the culture and connect with each other to know that we are not alone, to charge our creative batteries, and then get back out there to bring art and music to a world that desperately needs it.