David P. Sartor

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David Sartor (rhymes with "Carter", born May 25, 1956) is an American composer and conductor of symphonic, chamber, and choral music. He is adjunct professor of music at Middle Tennessee State University, adjunct professor of music at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee, and music director of the Parthenon Chamber Orchestra.[1]


Sartor is the composer of Synergistic Parable for symphonic band, which won the American Bandmasters Association's Ostwald Award for Symphonic Band Music, and of Polygon, for brass quintet, which received the National Fine Arts Award.

Other notable works include Metamorphic Fanfare, commissioned by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra; Thy Light Is Come for chorus, organ, brass and timpani, commissioned by Christ Episcopal Church in Nashville and showcased at the Washington National Cathedral by the Cathedral Choral Society; Black Ball Counts Double for string orchestra, which received a commendation in England's Oare International Composing Competition; Reveries, for string orchestra, winner of the Burlington (Vermont) Chamber Orchestra's 2009 Composer Competition as well as a finalist in the Fauxharmonic Orchestra's Adagio Composition Contest; and Concerto for Orchestra, a finalist in the Columbia Symphony Orchestra's American Composer Competition. He received double honors in Composition in both the 2012 and 2013 American Prizes, national awards celebrating American excellence in the arts.[2] [3] He was one of five composers nationwide named as an "Honored Artist" of the American Prize, in recognition of "sustained excellence" over a number of seasons in the national competitions.[4]

Sartor's compositions have been recognized with more than three dozen awards from ASCAP, Meet The Composer, Delta Omicron, and New Music for Young Ensembles, among others. His music has been featured at the Tanglewood and Aspen Music Festivals, the International Double Bass Festival, the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, the International Music Festival in San Jose Costa Rica, The World's Largest Organ Concert, the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, and at Carnegie Hall, with broadcast performances on National Public Radio and local affiliates.

Sartor's engagements as guest composer, conductor and lecturer include the Washington National Cathedral, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, the Nashville Concerto Orchestra, the Nexus Chamber Orchestra, the Vanderbilt University Orchestra, Illinois State University, Middle Tennessee State University, Trevecca Nazarene University, the Knoxville Brass Choir, the University of Tennessee Brass Choir, the Dogwood Arts Festival Chamber Orchestra, and a conducting “mini-residency” at California State University sponsored by New York City’s Meet The Composer Foundation. He was a 2017 national semi-finalist for the American Prize in Orchestral Conducting, and has been inducted as a National Patron of Delta Omicron International Music Fraternity in recognition of his accomplishments as a conductor and composer, alongside notable individuals such as Samuel Barber, William Schumann and Robert Shaw. In addition to his concert music activities Sartor is an alumnus of the Steven Scott Smalley Film Scoring Workshop as well as a recent workshop with Richard Glasser & Aaron Zigman, and has scored more than two dozen video documentaries and features.

In June 2007, Sartor was awarded the Thor Johnson Memorial Commission by the Delta Omicron Foundation. The Johnson Commission, awarded every three years to a distinguished concert music composer, funds the creation of a new work to be featured at the organization’s Triennial Conference. Sartor's work for string quartet, Passages, was premiered on July 17, 2009, at the 2009 Triennial Conference by the Atlantis String Quartet; the performance also coincided with and celebrated the 100th anniversary of Delta Omicron. Following the premiere, Sartor was inducted as a National Patron of Delta Omicron in recognition of his accomplishments as a composer and conductor.

Sartor's works are recorded on the Nexus label and are published by E.C. Schirmer, Shawnee Press, and Metamorphic Music. He currently resides in Tennessee with his wife, author Nancy Sartor.

Early life and education[edit]

Sartor was born May 25, 1956, in Nashville. The son of high school principal Grayl Bruce Sartor and elementary school teacher Kathleen Lipscomb Sartor, he began piano studies at age 5 with his grandmother, Sallie Lipscomb, a local piano instructor. In elementary school Sartor continued piano lessons and also began trumpet lessons, performing with his elementary school band.[citation needed]

Sartor attended McGavock High School in Nashville, where he was a charter member of the school's award-winning Wind Ensemble and marching band under the direction of Kenton J. Hull Jr. Both Hull and Mrs. Bobby Jean Frost, the school's piano and music theory teacher, encouraged Sartor's development as a composer, performer and conductor. While a student at McGavock he was Principal Trumpet in the Nashville Youth Symphony, the Middle Tennessee Honor Band and the Tennessee All-State Orchestra, and frequently organized ensembles which he conducted in performances of his own compositions.

Sartor studied at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and the University of Tennessee (Bachelor of Music), studying composition with John Anthony Lennon and David Van Vactor and conducting with Donald Neuen, and at Middle Tennessee State University (Master of Music), studying composition with Paul Osterfield and conducting with Carol Nies. His conducting study includes private instruction with Karen Lynne Deal and workshops with Kenneth Schermerhorn, John Morris Russell, and Diane Wittry.[5]

Musical philosophy[edit]

"Composition is an act of faith. While most composers strive for artistic excellence in their work, music also serves to communicate. Without willing players and attentive audiences, any composition is merely a complex set of instructions. Every piece of music, whether new or historical, is a testament to its composer's faith in the partnership among composer, performers, and audience."

(From Mr. Sartor's web site. Used by permission.)

Select compositions[edit]

Medieval Manifesto, for solo contrabass

Variants, for solo trombone

Sixes and Sevens, for solo cello

Prelude on William Billings's "When Jesus Wept," for organ

Postlude on William Billings's "Paris," for organ

Open Door, for organ

Simple Blessing, for organ

Affectations, for brass quintet

Polygon, for brass quintet

Thrice-Told Tales of the Pomegranate Forest, for trumpet, violin, and bass clarinet

Illusions, for percussion ensemble

Black Ball Counts Double, for string quartet (or string orchestra)

Diplomatic Summit, for contrabass quartet

Diplomatic Immunity, for two violas and two cellos

Diplomatic Solution, for cello quartet

Fanfare à 4, for two Bb trumpets and two trombones

Cat's Eye, for brass ensemble

Ascension, for brass and timpani

Parabola, for brass and timpani

Dies Irae, for brass and timpani

Crimson, for brass, timpani, percussion and optional organ

The Saints of Sewanee, for brass, timpani, percussion and optional organ

Passages, for string quartet

Aspirations, for wind quintet

Remembrance, for flute and piano

Meditation, for cello and piano

Celebration, for trumpet and organ

Sonata for trumpet and piano

Prologue, fanfare for three trumpets

Scarab, for flute, bassoon, and harp

Thy Light Is Come, for mixed choir, SATB, and organ, with optional brass and timpani

We Will Be Glad, for mixed choir, SATB, organ, brass, and timpani

Psalm 67, for mixed choir, SATB, organ, and trumpet

Welcome, Christmas Day! for mixed choir, SATB, and percussion (or piano)

Crown Him! for mixed choir, SATB, and orchestra (with optional organ)

Search Your Heart for Christmas, for mixed choir, SATB, and cello

Amid the Cruel Winter's Snow, for mixed choir, SATB, and harp

Veni Emmanuel: Fantasy of Abstractions, for symphonic band

Synergistic Parable, for symphonic band

Governor's Cup March, for concert band

O Worship the King, for orchestra

Metamorphic Fanfare, for orchestra

Portent and Apotheosis, Concerto for Orchestra

Reveries, for string orchestra

External links[edit]