David Hanlon is a composer, conductor, and pianist praised by Maestro Patrick Summers as “one of the major compositional voices of the young generation.” David was recently commissioned by the Opera For All Voices consortium (The Santa Fe Opera, San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Minnesota Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Sarasota Opera) to write a new chamber opera with librettist Stephanie Fleischmann for the Fall of 2021. David recently conducted the premiere of his and Fleischmann's chamber opera After the Storm at Houston Grand Opera. The Houston Chronicle lauded the score as “haunting” and “stirringly successful.” Soon after, he made his Carnegie Hall composer debut in soprano Melody Moore’s recital this past May. David has often written work for Houston Grand Opera (HGOco), including his chamber opera Past the Checkpoints about undocumented immigrants (featured in Opera America’s 2014 New Works Forum) the chamber vocal piece The Ninth November I Was Hiding, about his grandfather's arrest during Kristallnacht, and Power, based on a text by a high-schooler about bullying. David often works with Wolf Trap Opera, where his commissions include his duet I Should Have and his children’s opera Listen, Wilhelmina! which will be revived this coming season. With Wilhelmina librettist Kathleen Kelly, David recently wrote Texanische Liebeslieder about German immigration to Texas, based on oral histories in the Texas German dialect archives at UT-Austin. Since its premiere, it has been revived several times in Austin and Ann Arbor, and broadcast on Austin’s KMFA.
David is also a conductor with a focus in new work, praised by the Washington Post for his interpretive skills and “precise baton.” He makes his debut next season at Chicago Opera Theatre, leading Stefan Weisman and David Cote's The Scarlet Ibis. This January, David conducted Cruzar la cara de la luna at New York City Opera. He also led the work at its premiere and recording, as well as its revivals in Houston, Lyric Chicago of Chicago, San Diego Opera, and Arizona Opera. David also conducted the world premiere of El Pasado Nunca Se Termina at Lyric Opera of Chicago, followed by performances at San Diego and HGO. In addition to his commissioned work at HGO, David has conducted Gregory Spears’ The Bricklayer, Jack Perla's River of Light, and Jeeyoung Kim’s From My Mother’s Mother. He assisted on numerous productions, including the premieres of Spears's O Columbia, Iain Bell's A Christmas Carol, André Previn's Brief Encounter and Christopher Theofanidis's The Refuge in addition to productions of Lohengrin, Tosca, Serse, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He is a graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Studio.
David served as Lorin Maazel’s assistant conductor for the Castleton Festival, where he prepared La Fanciulla del West for performances in Castleton and Spain, prepared both chorus and orchestra for concert performances, at times substituting for the Maestro in those concerts on short notice. He is also former Adler Fellow with San Francisco Opera. As an Adler, he conducted the premiere of Jack Perla’s Love/Hate and debuted his four hand piano piece ¡Bang Kiss Kiss Bang! He assisted on SFO operas including Nixon in China, Siegfried, Don Giovanni, and the premiere of Heart of a Soldier. He also works as an assistant conductor and chorus master at Wolf Trap Opera and Washington Concert Opera and as a pianist at Dallas Opera and Philadelphia Opera.
David is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and Wesleyan University. He lives in Washington D.C. with his wife and two daughters.