David Barnett was born in New York City on December 1, 1907 and died December 1985. He graduated from Columbia University and later studied music at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and Juilliard School in New York City. Barnett then studied piano with Alfred Cortot in Paris, where he received his teaching degree. At this time, he also made his debut as a concert pianist and composer. Returning to the U.S., Barnett taught piano and music theory, and continued touring and composing.
Barnett taught at Harvard, Columbia, Wellesley and the New England Conservatory of Music. He also served as Headmaster of the Thomas School in Rowayton, Connecticut, and taught at the University of Bridgeport. Barnett is a published author, as well, including two books: Living With Music and They Shall Have Music. Barnett died in 1985.