david arend  bassist, composer   



Double bassist and composer David Arend creates music spanning modern classical, jazz and electroacoustic music. He performs with orchestras, chamber ensembles and jazz combos and has improvised extensively with electronic, singer-songwriter and hip hop artists. His compositions have been performed in the Americas, Europe, the U.K., Asia and the Middle East by such performers as Alchemy Sound Project, West Point Woodwind Quintet, Bellingham Festival of Music orchestra, clarinet soloist Jonathan Aubrey, DJs and electronic music producers, and members of the San Francisco Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and Nashville Symphony. David was the soloist for the premieres of his two bass concertos. He recorded those works with the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra for the acclaimed album Astral Travels released on Navona Records/Naxos.

Arend is a graduate of the Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music double degree program, with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a Bachelor of Music in Classical double bass performance under Scott Haigh (Cleveland Orchestra). He earned a Master of Music degree in Classical double bass performance at The Juilliard School under Eugene Levinson (New York Philharmonic).

David was selected for a 4-year fellowship with the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble under composer/conductor George Tsontakis, with whom David presented several premieres and collaborated with composers such as Thomas Adés and Chen Yi. David has also worked with composers George Crumb, Ornette Coleman, Tan Dun, Bobby McFerrin and rock legend Santana. David performed on composer John Psathas’ recording Rhythm Spike, named New Zealand’s 2000 Classical Record of the Year.

At age 38 David composed his first major work, Sequoia Sempervirens, a concerto for double bass and chamber orchestra. He premiered the work in 2010 as solo bassist with the San Francisco Academy Orchestra under the baton of Andrei Gorbatenko. During this period Arend appeared regularly as a substitute with the San Francisco Symphony and freelanced with many San Francisco Bay Area ensembles. He has been a member of the Oakland Symphony under Michael Morgan for nearly two decades.

David studied composition in his 40’s with Simon Bokman, a former student of Galina Ustvolskaya.

Arend was selected in 2012 to participate in the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute, a program designed by Columbia University and the American Composers Orchestra. At this weeklong intensive he met several composer-performers including pianist Sumi Tonooka, multi-reed player Salim Washington and trumpeter Samantha Boshnack. Upon the addition of saxophonist Erica Lindsay,  the composer-performer collective Alchemy Sound Project was formed. Their debut recording was named a Best of Jazz 2016 by DownBeat magazine in the U.S. and by UKVibe in the U.K..

In 2013 Arend responded to a competitive call for scores by the West Point Woodwind Quintet, working quickly to compose a wind quintet in five days. The ensemble selected his resultant work Corps Remembered as the closer for their Civil War-themed concert. This led him to participate as a composer-performer at the 2013 Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival in New York City.

David then embarked on writing Voyager: Three Sheets to the Wind, a double concerto for double bass, tenor saxophone and orchestra. A high point in the composition process was a telephone conversation with Professor Ed Stone, project scientist for the Voyager mission. The composition includes both composed and improvised sections for the soloists and was premiered with Seattle’s Philharmonia Northwest, conductor Julia Tai and saxophonist Michael Brockman. David recorded Sequoia Sempervirens and Voyager with the Moravian Philharmonic (Czech Republic) and saxophonist Salim Washington (South Africa). The recording was received with critical acclaim, receiving five stars from venerable music periodical Neue Zeitschrift für Musik in Leipzig, Germany.

David has performed at music festivals such as Aspen, Bellingham, Cabrillo, Mendocino, Telluride, Woodstockhausen and Pacific Music Festival, Japan. He was a guest artist at Seattle Latin American Music Festival, San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, Composers Inc. and NWEAMO electroacoustic festival of bent electronica. Hip hop and hybrid electronica appearances include Envision Festival and Bamboo Bass Festival (Costa Rica), The Gathering (Los Angeles), Roter Salon and Zu mir oder zu Dir (Berlin, Germany), the Cryptoportico at the American Academy (Rome, Italy), The New Parish (Oakland, CA) and San Francisco’s Mezzanine, Ruby Skye, 111 Minna, John Colins, Varnish, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and The De Young Museum.

Arend also scores for film. He scored and co-produced the animated short film Changyou’s Journey, winner of film festival prizes in 2018 including Best of Indie Youth - Arizona International Film Festival; Youth Film Showcase Gold - Newport Beach Film Festival; Best Animated Short, 2D Drama: Family - Palm Springs International Animation Festival. The film also qualified for the 2019 Oscars.

David recently relocated to Los Angeles, CA, where his first concerts were as acting principal bass of Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

David has recorded for San Francisco Symphony Media, Rattle Records (New Zealand), Odd-Shaped Case, Dapper Music, Navona Records/Naxos, Origin Records and Artists Recording Collective.


“Arend is a gifted pictorialist... [he] devises movement forms in which the relationship between jazz and compositionally specified music is not the point of the piece

in and of itself, but integrally contributes to the overall mode of expression.”

4.5/5 stars     -James Manheim, AllMusic.com

“[Arend’s music] paints a lush and soothing landscape...

a serious melding of classical and jazz... wonderfully orchestrated.”

-Steve Seigel, The Morning Call

Arend’s work has “a cinematic quality that blends jazz harmony and instrumentation often in magical ways... the music has an intriguing narrative flow that is not always completely “tonal,” but still tends to be accessible harmonically.”

4/4 stars     -Cinemusical