SEPF Guest Artist David Cutler

David Cutler

David Cutler

David Cutler balances a varied career as a jazz and classical composer, pianist, educator, arranger, conductor, collaborator, concert producer, author, blogger, consultant, speaker, advocate, and entrepreneur. In all these pursuits, he works to push boundaries while connecting with new audiences. His book The Savvy Musician helps musicians 1) build a career, 2) earn a living, & 3) make a difference.

A multi-dimensional composer who listens voraciously to a colossal range of musical styles, his enormously eclectic output reflects this musical world, with a vocabulary ranging from beautiful lyricism to unusual sounds, dissonant clashes, and bizarre juxtapositions. Cutler's compositions have been commissioned and performed by artists such as the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Classical Orchestra of Milan, Repertory Symphony Orchestra, LAVIE Singers, Korean Chamber Ensemble, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Burning River Brass, Airmen of Note Air Force Big Band, singer Nancy Wilson, trumpeter Sean Jones, clarinetist David Krakauer, harpist Jung, and saxophonist Benny Golson.

Recent composition accolades include the Sammy Nestico Award, the Millennium Arts Society's International Competition for Composers and awards from Friends and Enemies of New Music, the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and ASCAP. He served residencies at the Asian Pacific Performance Exchange (Los Angeles, CA), where he worked closely with American and Asian musicians, dancers, theatre artists, and puppeteers; Visby International Centre for Composition (Gotland, Sweden); and Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Bogota Colombia).

Cutler's style of jazz piano playing is as wide ranging as his compositions, spanning from stride and bebop to elements far beyond the traditional jazz vernacular. His classical performance focuses on music by contemporary and American composers. As a frequent guest artist with groups like Boston Brass, New Century Saxophone Quartet, River City Brass Band, he stretches the definition of what it means to be a musical collaborator: interacting with the audience, incorporating choreography, and playing secondary instruments at times.

Cutler is known for organizing concert productions that marry outstanding performance with the unexpected (whether greeting patrons with costumed performers or ushering them out with a marching band). Many of his shows have interfaced diverse musical expressions with dance, film, actors, stage design, and visual artists.

Dr. Cutler studied at the University of Miami (BM), Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, Austria, Eastman School of Music (MM), and Indiana University (DM). He currently teaches at Duquesne University, where he also serves as the Director of Music Entrepreneurship. For more information, please visit