David Crumb

Profile picture of David Crumb
Professor of Composition and Music Theory
Phone: 541-346-3770
Office: 267 Frohnmayer Music Bldg
Research Interests: Music Composition, Music Theory

David Crumb is associate professor in composition and theory and has been a member of the UO faculty since 1997. Prior to UO, he served as visiting professor at Duke University, UCLA, St. Mary's College of Maryland, and West Chester University.

Born in 1962 into a musical family, Crumb studied both cello and piano from an early age. His father is world-renowned composer George Crumb, and his sister Ann Crumb is well known as a singer and actress who has performed extensively on Broadway.

Crumb holds degrees in composition from the University of Pennsylvania and the Eastman School of Music, where he also studied cello. His principal composition teachers were Mark Kopytman, Jay Reise, Richard Wernick, and Samuel Adler. During these formative years, he also studied with Chinary Ung, Lukas Foss, Joseph Schwantner, Stephen Albert, and Stephen Jaffe.

Crumb’s music has been performed throughout the United States and abroad. His orchestral music has been programmed by the Baltimore Symphony, Utah Symphony, Riverside Symphony, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, and Chicago Civic Orchestra. Chamber works have been presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, Orchestra 2001, Cassatt Quartet, Parnassus Ensemble, Voices of Change, Music at the Anthology, The Chicago Ensemble, Nextet, Musiqa, Bent Frequency, Network for New Music, Percussion Plus Project, Cafè MoMus, and Quattro Mani.

Crumb is the recipient of numerous honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Residency Award (Yaddo Artist Colony), an Aaron Copland Award, a Los Angeles Symphony "L.A. Composers Project 2" Award, and an Aaron and Abby Schroeder Fellowship/Margaret Lee Crofts Fellowship (Tanglewood Music Center). He has also received grants from the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard and the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition.

Crumb has been commissioned by Cassatt in the Basin, Chintimini Chamber Music Festival, University of Houston Moores School Percussion Ensemble, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Third Angle, Orchestra 2001, National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group.

CDs that include Crumb’s music, and are currently available: Everywhere Entangled (Albany), ‘Round Midnight (Stradivarius), New Voices (Capstone), Harmony for a New World (Innova), Old News (Equilibrium), Chant der Rochers (CRI/New World Records).

  • PhD 1992, Composition,  University of Pennsylvania
  • MA 1991, University of Pennsylvania
  • BMus 1985, Composition and Cello, Eastman School of Music


  • Guggenheim Fellowship
  • MacArthur Foundation Residency Award
  • Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard Commission
  • Barlow Endowment for Music Composition Commission
  • Aaron Copland Award
  • Yaddo Colony Artist Residency
  • MacDowell Colony Artist Residency
  • L.A. Composers Project 2 Prize
  • American Composers Forum Encore Grant
  • Chicago Ensemble Discover America Award
  • PhD 1992, Composition,  University of Pennsylvania
  • MA 1991, University of Pennsylvania
  • BMus 1985, Composition and Cello, Eastman School of Music


  • Kinetikus for percussion ensemble. Performed by the University of Houston Percussion Ensemble. Albany Records: “Everywhere Entangled,” copyright 2012.
  • Variation on 'Round Midnight for solo piano. Performed by Emanuele Arciuli. Stradivarius: “Round Midnight, Homage to Thelonius Monk,” copyright 2011.
  • Piano Sonata, performed by Jeffrey Jacobs. Capstone Records: “New Voices: Contemporary American Piano Music,” copyright 2006.
  • Harmonium Mundi for two pianos and percussion. Performed by Quattro Mani (duo-pianists Susan Grace and Alice Rybak), percussionists David Colson and John Kinzie. Innova Recordings: “Harmony for a New World,” copyright 2004.
  • The Whisperer for two pianos. Performed by Quattro Mani. Recorded May 2002. Innova Recordings: “Harmony for a New World,” copyright 2004.
  • Awakening for trumpet and percussion. Performed by the Dunn-Pennington Duo (Stephen Dunn, trumpet; John Pennington, percussion). Equilibrium Records: “Old News,” copyright 2002.
  • Variations for Cello and Chamber Ensemble. Performed by cellist Ulrich Boeckheler and the Orchestra 2001 (James Freeman, music director). CRI/New World Records: “Chant des Rochers,” music of our time: volume 4, copyright 2000.


  • Red Desert Triptych for piano (2011) 40'
  • Variation on ‘Round Midnight for piano (2001) 4'
  • Miniatures for clarinet (1989) 6'
  • Piano Sonata (1988) 12'


  • Vocalise for three string quartets (2013) 10'
  • Mood Sequence for flute, cello, piano (2012) 14'
  • Kinetikus for percussion ensemble, 12 players (2009) 10'
  • Improvisations on an English Folk Tune for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano (2004) 15'
  • Suspended Blue for brass quintet (2003) 11'
  • Primordial Fantasy [pn, ob, cl, hn, perc, hp, vla, vc, db] (2002) 8'
  • September Elegy for violin and piano (2001) 15'
  • Harmonia Mundi for two pianos and two percussion (2001) 17'
  • Awakening for trumpet and percussion (2000) 12'
  • The Whisperer for two pianos (1999) 12'
  • Piano Quartet for piano, violin, viola, and cello (1999) 21'
  • Sextet for clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, horn, trombone, and percussion (1998) 6'
  • Soundings for clarinet, bassoon, and piano (1994) 8'
  • Variations for Cello and Chamber Ensemble [fl(2), ob, cl, bn, hn, perc(2), hp, pn, 2 vln, vla, vc, db] (1993) 21'
  • Metamorphosis [pn, vln, vc, hp, perc(2), cel] (1987) 15'
  • Movement for String Quartet (1984) 8'


  • September Elegy for violin and chamber orchestra [2222 22 perc(2), pn/cel, hp, stgs]  
  • Vestiges of a Distant Time for chamber orchestra [2222 4221 perc, pf, strgs] (1996) 12'.  Revised, 2003.
  • Clarino for large orchestra [3343 4331 perc(4), pf, strgs] (1991) 17'. Revised, 1993, further revised, 1996.


  • Hearing Bells for mezzo-soprano, flute/picc, oboe, cello, percussion, piano; text from ancient Chinese poetry (2005) 17'
  • Joyce Songs for mezzo-soprano, flute/picc/alto, clarinet, cello; texts by James Joyce (1990) 13'. Revised, 1996.