David Wightman is a composer/performer whose music has been performed in concert halls, bars, art galleries, basements, institutions, and secret underground utopian environments. He creates music that is truly of our time—quoting, sampling, and appropriating the rich and varied songs that surround us at every turn. The resulting work turns ecstatic fragments into large-scale, buzzing, and dramatic pieces.
In July 2013, David's collaboration with Jacob Ciocci, Extreme Animals, was awarded the first ever Rhizome Tumblr Internet Art Grant to curate and execute multi-city tour involving six other Internet artists/musicians. That same year he also curated the "Personal Best" event series at The Outpost in Ridgewood, NY. Each event in the series combined music, video, and lecture into one evening.
In 2012, David was an Artist-in-Residence at Harvestworks developing a system for video to follow and respond to live performers. The project created a "virtual" third video member for his collaboration with Jacob Ciocci, founding member of the Paper Rad art collective. In 20ll they toured North America five times presenting music and video in performance and lecture. That same year David was in residence at the Wassaic Project. He also received an ASCAP PLUS award in 2011.
In December 2010, David received his PhD in music composition from UCSD where he studied with Lei Liang, Anthony Burr, and Chaya Czernowin. His three-part dissertation consisted of music for chamber ensemble, electric guitar (performed by David) and multimedia work that incorporated video and other technologies. At UCSD he created original courses and lectured on popular music (heavy metal, hip hop, resistance and subversion) and contemporary music (avant-garde and experimental practices of the 20th and 21st century). In 2010 David received an ASCAP PLUS prize and a MetLife Meet the Composer grant to work with the Red Light Ensemble. That same year he also attended the Fontainebleau and June in Buffalo festivals.
Before moving to California David was living in Texas where he attended Rice University studying with Kurt Stallmann and Pierre Jalbert and the University of Texas at Austin where he studied with Kevin Puts and Kevin Beavers. He was born in Bloomington, Indiana and raised in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
David has worked with California EAR Unit, Shepherd Symphony Orchestra, SurPlus Ensemble, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, violinist Mark Menzies, Paper Rad art collective, UCSD Bass Ensemble, Bang on a Can All Stars, Speculum Musicae, Nautical Almanac, Red Fish Blue Fish, The Kenners, bassist Mark Dresser, Beige Programming Ensemble, and the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble. He has attended various music festivals and residencies including the Atlantic Center for the Arts (working with David Lang), Bang on a Can Institute, the Arcosanti Workshop, the Domaine Forget New Music Session, La Schola Cantorum Composition Program, Cincinnati College Conservatory's Music03 and the Aspen Music Festival.
David has performed at the Museum of Modern Art, the Hirshhorn Museum, the New Museum, the Museum of Moving Image, and the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum. His music has been written about in the New York Times, Artforum, San Diego Tribune, Los Angeles Times, New Yorker, Village Voice, and Time Out New York.