David Carpenter was born in 1972 in Poughkeepsie, NY, a city on the Hudson River just north of New York City. He began music lessons on the French horn, for which he wrote his first piece, “The Mourning Dove,” at age 10. He went on to study music at Bates College in Lewiston, ME, where he graduated summa cum laude with his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1994. After private study with composer Herschel Garfein, he pursued graduate work at the Peabody Conservatory, studying with Morris Cotel, and completed his Master of Music degree in 1998. In 2006, he began work on his Doctor of Musical Arts degree as a Presidential Fellow at Temple University in Philadelphia, studying with Maurice Wright. While pursuing his degree, he attended the Aspen Music Festival and School, the Brevard Music Center, and was a fellow at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, NH. He completed his D.M.A. in 2011, and has been living in Philadelphia since then.
Carpenter’s music has been heard throughout the United States, including venues in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, and Virginia. Major performances include those of Fredericksburg, premiered by baritone William Stone and the Temple University Concert Choir and Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Alan Harler, as part of the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society’s 2007–08 concert series; Three Myths for Solo Bassoon, premiered by internationally-renowned bassoon virtuoso Pascal Gallois in 2008; and scenes from his opera, The Age of Innocence, based on the novel by Edith Wharton, in New York in 2013. He has also collaborated with the Momenta Quartet, who premiered his String Quartet in 2008, and the Argento Chamber Ensemble, who premiered his Sextet in 2010. In 2014, Carpenter was commissioned by Play on, Philly!, an educational initiative that provides opportunities for personal development to children through the study of music, to write a piece for speaker and orchestra based on the writings of Frederick Douglass. This work, Hallelujahs of the Free, was premiered by the POP Symphony Orchestra and speaker Douglas Mapp in Philadelphia in May 2015. Premieres in 2017 and 2018 included his Sonata performed by pianist Katelyn Bouska in Brno, Czech Republic; and his song cycle, From the Valley of Baca, based on the poems of Emma Lazarus, performed by baritone Lawrence Indik and pianist Charles Abramovic, in Philadelphia. He is currently at work on a piece for orchestra, to be completed in 2019.