David Kirkland Garner writes music for a variety of ensembles and occasions including chamber, orchestral, electro-acoustic, and vocal works. Most often, D.K. Garner draws on the music of the American South as inspiration, focusing on performance, specifically style, technique, tuning, and timbre, rather than the tunes themselves. He is interested in the rich recorded history of early roots music and our cultural fascination with, as Greil Marcus puts it, the “Old, Weird America.” Even when he is not using traditional music as inspiration Garner strives to write music with the qualities many traditional musics exude: emotional clarity, visceral rhythmic energy, and melody rooted in song. In the future he hopes to develop this language through large ensemble, chamber, and electro-acoustic compositions.
Garner has worked with world-renowned ensembles including the Kronos Quartet, which commissioned a work based on the music of the Scottish diaspora. Awards 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 Ciompi Quartet, Vega Quartet, San Deigo Symphony, Locrian Chamber Ensemble, the Wet Ink Ensemble, the Boston New Music Initiative, and the yMusic ensemble. With degrees from Duke University, University of Michigan, and Rice University, Garner currently teaches at Elon and Duke Universities and lives in Durham, NC with his wife Bronwen, son Rhys, and dog Niko.