David Conte has received commissions from Chanticleer; the San Francisco, Dayton, Oakland, and Stockton Symphonies; the Raymond Brock Commission from the American Choral Directors Association; and for conventions of the AGO (2004, 2012, 2015, 2024). He has composed solo pieces for organists Ken Cowan, Michael Farris, David Higgs, and Alan Morrison. Since 1985 he has been Professor of Composition and since 2014 Chair of the Composition Department at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Conte is the composer of over 150 works published by E.C. Schirmer Music Company. He was one of the last students of Nadia Boulanger, studying with her from 1975-78 in Paris and Fontainebleau on a Fulbright Scholarship; a Ralph Vaughan Williams Fellow, and an Aspen Music Festival Conducting Fellow. He earned a BM from Bowling Green State University where he studied with Wallace DePue, and an MFA and DMA from Cornell University where he studied with Karel Husa. In 1982 Conte worked with Aaron Copland preparing a study of the composer’s manuscript sketches.
He has taught at Cornell, Colgate University, the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France, and Interlochen. He has served on the board of the American Composer’s Forum, as Composer in Residence for Cappella SF, and on the composition faculties of EAMA in Paris, and Choral Chameleon Institute in New York. His opera The Gift of the Magi has received over 40 productions in the U.S, Canada, Europe, and Russia. In 2005 he co-composed the score for the documentary Ballets Russes shown at the Sundance Film Festival; in 2007 he composed the score for the PBS American Masters documentary Orozco: Man of Fire. In 2016 he won the National Association of Teachers of Singing Art Song Composition Award for his cycle American Death Ballads. He is an active clinician of Theory and Musicianship Pedagogy, and has led workshops for national conventions of the AGO, ACDA, and for many congregations, conservatories, and universities.