david arend bassist and composer   



Changyou’s Journey

Arend scores

award-winning short film

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

4/4 stars     -Cinemusical

“...paints a lush and soothing landscape...

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

-Steve Seigel, The Morning Call

“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


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.

Arend’s 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 in Czechia with the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra for the acclaimed album Astral Travels released on Navona Records/Naxos. Arend studied composition with Simon Bokman, a former student of Galina Ustvolskaya.

David 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 in Classical double bass performance at The Juilliard School under Eugene Levinson (New York Philharmonic).

Collaboration with composers has been an important theme in Arend’s life. Selected as solo bassist for a 4-year fellowship with the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble under composer George Tsontakis, David presented several premieres and collaborated with composers such as Thomas Adés, Chen Yi and John Harbison. David has also worked with composers George Crumb, Ornette Coleman, Tan Dun, Bobby McFerrin and Carlos Santana. David performed on composer John Psathas’ recording Rhythm Spike, named New Zealand’s 2000 Classical Record of the Year.

In 2010 David composed Sequoia Sempervirens, a concerto for double bass and chamber orchestra. He premiered the work that year 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. He has been a member of the Oakland Symphony, directed by Michael Morgan, for two decades.

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 intensive he met composer-performers who would later formed the collective Alchemy Sound Project. 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. His resultant work Corps Remembered was selected and programmed as the closer for the WPWQ’s Civil War-themed concert. This composition led him to participate as a composer-performer at the 2013 Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival in New York City.

David then composed 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 (Czechia) and saxophonist Salim Washington (South Africa). The recording was received with critical acclaim, receiving five stars from the venerable music journal Neue Zeitschrift für Musik in Leipzig, Germany.

David has performed in music festivals at 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 lives in Los Angeles, CA where he has performed with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. He 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.