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Encompassing chamber, large ensemble, electronic, electroacoustic, vocal, and film music, David Kirkland Garner's music reconfigures past sounds—from Bach and Schumann to minimalism to blues and bluegrass—into new sonic shapes and directions. He seeks to make time and history audible, particularly through an exploration of archival recordings. Of Garner's first album Dark Holler, released in 2017 by New Focus Recordings, reviewer Kevin Baldwin writes "Garner’s voice as a composer is unmistakable; with a true passion and inspiration of the music of the South, Garner creates an engaging and lively listening experience." Garner's second is the inaugural album on Sourwood Records, which he founded in 2023, called Eight Songs for Steffen Thomas written for a documentary film about the Georgia artist which premiered on Georgia PBS in February 2023. 


Awards received include a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, an ASCAP Young Composer Award, and first prizes in the OSSIA, Red Note, and NACUSA competitions. His music has been performed by the Kronos Quartet, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Contemporaneous, Invoke string quartet, Ciompi Quartet, Vega Quartet, South Carolina Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, Locrian Chamber Ensemble, the Wet Ink Ensemble, the Boston New Music Initiative, Mallarmé Chamber Players, and the yMusic ensemble. Garner has published and presented scholarship on topics on the history of the banjo, Cape Breton fiddling, and minimalism. His work with scholars Laurent Dubois and Mary Caton Lingold on Musical Passage, a digital humanities website project which focuses on the earliest transcription/composition of early Afro-diasporic music from 1688 Jamaica, led to a collaborative piece with poet Ishion Hutchinson called Mr Baptiste, which was premiered by the Imani Winds in 2023.


With degrees from Duke University, University of Michigan, and Rice University, Garner is an Associate Professor of Composition and Theory and the Assistant Director of the Southern Exposure New Music Series at the University of South Carolina School of Music.

Email me: davekgarner[at]

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Events/press/links >


May 1. Premiere performance of Eight Songs for Steffen Thomas by Claire

            Bryant and Phillip Bush as part of the Madison Music Festival at

            the Steffen Thomas Museum

Feb 16. Premiere performance of The Great Plains with Molly Morkoski at the

University of South Carolina

Jan 26. Performance of Short Stories, vol. 1 with Greg Stuart at the University

of Georgia

Jan 24. Performance of Short Stories, vol. 1 with Greg Stuart at Emory


Jan 24. Album release for Short Stories, vol. 1 on Sourwood Records

Jan 23. Melt featured on Performance Today

Jan 21. Premiere of Sonata for viola and piano, movement I by Jonathan Bagg

and Emely Phelps at Duke University


Dec 3. Performance of A Forest Unfolding presented by NOVUS NY at Trinity

Church Wall Street

Oct 1. Premiere performance of Mr Baptiste by the Imani Winds and poet 

        Ishion Hutchinson at Duke University

Jul 24. Aspen Times review of A Forest Unfolding at the Aspen Music Festival.

Jul 22. Performance of A Forest Unfolding at the Aspen Music Festival

May 20. Melt featured on Performance Today

Apr 23. Performance of A Forest Unfolding at The National Gallery of Art in

Washington DC

Apr 16. Performance of A Forest Unfolding in Southern Pines, NC

Apr 14. Performance of Butte and A Forest Unfolding at USC in Columbia, SC

Apr 7. Performance of A Forest Unfolding at Duke University

Mar 1. Album release date for Eight Songs for Steffen Thomas

Feb 22. Performance of A Forest Unfolding by the Oberlin Contemporary

Music ensemble 

Feb 19. Performance of movement VII from The Great Plains by Molly

Morkoski at Chestnut Hill College in PA

Feb 16. Premiere performance of Short Stories with Greg Stuart at USC in

Columbia, SC

Feb 13. Premiere of documentary film Steffen Thomas: Rock & Chisel


Jul 6. Premiere performance of Butte with Electric Earth Concerts in NH

Concert review of Black, black, black is the colour

Melt featured on Performance Today (3-24-22)

Apr 23. Premiered by the SC Philharmonic with Morihiko Nakahara at the

Koger Center for the Arts in Columbia, SC


Melt featured on Performance Today (10-26-21)

Crow Featured on Performance Today (8-28-21)

Crow featured on Performance Today (6-4-21)


Podcast interview on The Composers Studio


Op-Ed in The State

Dark Holler featured on Extra Eclectic (11-13-19)               


Review of “Unraveling Beethoven”

Alan Koznin’s concert review of A Forest Unfolding

Article by David Weininger on A Forest Unfolding in the Boston Globe

Review of Contemporaneous’ MATA show including DwnByThRckyMtns 

in “I Care if You Listen”


Review of Skye & Glass

Radio interview on WCPE

Review of Glasz

Textura review of Dark Holler

Dark Holler in Chicago Reader playlist

Album review of Dark Holler

Columbia Free Times feature

Dark Holler review in "I Care if You Listen"

Review of All that there was

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