David S. Kechley

Photo of David S. Kechley

Professor of Music, Emeritus


Since the 1968 premiere of Second Composition for Large Orchestra by the Seattle Symphony, David Kechley has produced works in all genres. His music draws from a variety of sources including the “usual suspects” of twentieth century concert music, concert composers from the more distant past and present, and many forms of vernacular, popular, and ethnic musics. Although these influences are generally integrated into a consistent style, the resulting musical narratives often create sharp contrasts between lyricism, virtuosity, and dramatic gesture.

His works have been commissioned and performed throughout the USA and abroad by the Minnesota Orchestra, Boston Pops, Cleveland Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, Vermont Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Houston Symphony, Memphis Symphony, United States Military Academy Band, Kronos String Quartet, Lark String Quartet, Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, Vienna Saxophone Quartet, Mistral Saxophone Quartet, Zagreb Saxophone Quartet, among others. His music has been recorded and released on the Liscio Recordings, Albany Records, Reference Recording, and others.

Kechley’s work has been recognized by a Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (1979), grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (1976,1979), and commissions from the Barlow Foundation (1998) and the New England Orchestra Consortium (2004). Five Ancient Lyrics on Poems by Sappho was first prize winner of the 1980-81 Shreveport Symphony Composers’ Competition and Concerto for Violin and Strings won the 1979 Opus I Chamber Orchestra Contest for Ohio Composers. In the Dragon’s Garden, a work for guitar and alto saxophone, was a winner of the 1994 Lee Ettelson Prize. Lightning Images received honorable mention in the 1994 ASCAP Nissim Competition and TRANSFORMATIONS: An Orchestral Triptych was an honorable mention in that same competition in 1998. Restless Birds before the Dark Moon, a work for alto saxophone and wind ensemble, was the winner of the 2000 National Band Association, William D. Revelli Memorial Band Composition Contest. Kechley received Artist Fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council in 1985 and the Massachusetts Cultural Council in 1995, 2005 and was a grant finalist in 2011. Four of his most recent premieres are BOUNCE: Inventions, Interludes, and Interjections, premiered at the World Saxophone Congress in July, 2006 in Ljubljana, Slovenia by the Ryoanji Duo, COLLIDING OBJECTS: Interactions for Piano and Percussion, premiered on the Barge Music series in Brooklyn, NY in 2008, DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION: Trialogues for Trumpet, Saxophone, and Percussion on THE BOX-music by living composers, a new music series at Williams College, September 10, 2010 and Pogled u Budućnost/Pogled u Prošlost: Seven Piano Pieces from Sarajevo was premiered on The Barge Music series on August 11, 2011.

He was awarded residencies at The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in 2002, Yaddo in 2006, Copland House in 2008, and the MacDowell Colony in 2009.

Born in Seattle, Washington, March 16, 1947, Kechley was educated at the University of Washington, Cleveland Institute of Music, and Case Western Reserve University. His teachers include Paul Tufts, Robert Suderburg, William Bergsma, James Beale, and Donald Erb. His music is available and released on the Liscio Recordings, Albany Records, Reference Recording, and others.

Kechley’s music can be heard on iTunes, amazon.com, Liscio Recordings, Albany Records, and Reference Recordings. His music is published by Pine Valley Press.