David McDonnell is a composer, computer music programmer and jazz saxophonist. A Chicago native, McDonnell currently resides in Cincinnati, where he teaches Computer Music, Recording and Arranging at The University of Dayton and laptop music at The University of Cincinnati – College Conservatory of Music (CCM). McDonnell received his Doctorate in Composition from CCM in 2012, where he studied with Joel Hoffman and Mara Helmuth. Although mainly a spectralist in compositional practice, McDonnell attempts to fuse these techniques with the rhythms and melodic approaches gleaned from his years in Chicago as a professional jazz and rock musician.
Recent premiers of his multi-media chamber music include In a Clearing, for solo trombone, computer and accompaniment at The Colburn School in Los Angeles (Winter 2013) and Æpse for solo cello and computer at Constellation in Chicago (Autumn 2013). In the summer of 2011, he received a fellowship to attend the Music X Festival in Blonay, Switzerland, which was curated by the Eighth Blackbird Ensemble. It was here that his chamber trio Islands in a Sea of Light was premiered. This past winter, McDonnell was a speaker at a festival held for the computer music programming software RTcmix at CCM, where he presented his work modeling and manipulating Auditory Illusions as described by the cognitive psychologist Diana Deutsch.
McDonnell’s jazz compositions and saxophone playing with the Chicago group Herculaneum have been featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” in a review of their 2011 album, Olives and Orchids. Herculaneum performed at the 2012 New York Winter Jazz Fest in support of their current release UCHU. This performance garnered a positive review in the New York Times. He keeps a busy profile in his home of Cincinnati with his jazz quartet, Dave McDonnell Group, and his electronic music trio, Diving Bell, whose first album can be found on the Belarus HAZE label. McDonnell’s new album the dragon and the griffin, a set of original jazz compositions for quartet comprised of musicians from Chicago and New York is slated for release this Spring on New Atlantis Records.