von Kampen, David

David von Kampen (b. 1986) is a composer from Lincoln, Nebraska. David’s creative work spans a wide variety of genres and styles, including jazz, choral music, hymnody and liturgy, solo voice, chamber music, and musical theater. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Kansas, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Nebraska. He has studied composition with James Barnes, Dan Gailey, Forrest Pierce, Eric Richards, and Randall Snyder.

David is a six-time Downbeat Award winner in graduate-level jazz writing categories, a three-time winner of the Vancouver Chamber Choir Young Composers Competition, and was named the MTNA Distinguished Composer of the Year for his song cycle Under the Silver and Home Again. He has been among ten winners of the ORTUS International New Music Competition, the recipient of an ASCAP Young Jazz Composer award, winner of the San Francisco Choral Artists New Voices Project, winner of the National Band Association’s Young Jazz Composers Competition, and received Honorable Mention in the New York Youth Symphony First Music Commissions.

Puddin’ and the Grumble, David’s original musical with playwright Becky Boesen, was one of seven finalists for the Richard Rodgers Award. David has over 60 choral and instrumental compositions and arrangements published with Walton Music, G. Schirmer, Hal Leonard, Concordia Publishing House, Pavane Publishing, UNC Jazz Press, Graphite, MusicSpoke, and others. His music has been performed by the Aeolians, the KHORIKOS Vocal Ensemble, the L.A. Choral Lab, KC VITAs Chamber Choir, the Taiwan Youth Festival Chorus, San Francisco Choral Artists, the U.S. Army Blues Jazz Ensemble, the Vancouver Chamber Choir, and by collegiate, all-state, high school, and church ensembles throughout the United States and internationally.

David is a lecturer of music theory and literature at the University of Nebraska, where he teaches music theory, ear training, a variety of other music courses, and directs the award-winning UNL Jazz Singers. He also serves as Music Coordinator for Sanctuary Worship at Christ Lutheran Church in Lincoln. David is a member of ASCAP, the Jazz Education Network, and the American Choral Directors Association. He is active as a conductor and pianist, and as a clinician for vocal and instrumental ensembles. He lives in Lincoln with his wife, Mollie, and two daughters.


Which Part-Writing Rules Still Matter? - Music Education

What was the point of all those things you weren't allowed to do in music theory? Does music actually sound better when you follow traditional part-writing "rules"? In this session I'll explain why these principles exist, why we teach them, and how, when, and why composers choose to disregard them.

Chord Progressions and Reharmonization - Music Education

How composers and arrangers make music harmonically exciting.

Basic Jazz Harmony - Music Education

In this session I'll show how I teach beginning jazz piano students about seventh chords, extensions, and voicing simple functional progressions. This is a great place to start if you have little or no jazz background.

Singing with Big Ears - Music Education

Vocal jazz warm-up exercises can improve musicianship and ear training for any choral ensemble. In this session we'll sing some crunchy chords, talk about what makes dissonance great, and why singers need to be comfortable with it.

Choral Arranging: Setting Text - Music Education

A huge part of writing for choirs is knowing how to treat text well. I'll talk about choosing a text, syllabic stress, melismatic writing, and demonstrate some basic vocal composition techniques.

Actually Useful Music Theory - Music Education

Music theory has a bad reputation, like the musician’s version of a thorny math requirement that is endured and then forgotten. But music theory is simply the process of talking about why music is interesting, and it can be applied to many different genres and styles. The session’s target audience is anyone who has a music degree but doesn’t find music theory particularly interesting or useful. I’m going to explain which parts of the undergraduate theory sequence really matter, and show how—when used correctly—music theory can actually bolster one’s career as an educator, performer, or arranger.