Guest Composer

David Biedenbenderhead shot photo of David Biedenbendere

Composer for the 2023 Conference

David Biedenbender (b. 1984) is a composer, conductor, performer, educator, and interdisciplinary collaborator. David’s music has been described as “simply beautiful” [, Minneapolis/St. Paul], “striking” and “brilliantly crafted” [Times Argus] and is noted for its “rhythmic intensity” [NewMusicBox] and “stirring harmonies” [Boston Classical Review]. “Modern, venturesome, and inexorable…The excitement, intensity, and freshness that characterizes Biedenbender’s music hung in the [air] long after the last note was played” []. He has written music for the concert stage as well as for dance and multimedia collaborations, and his work is often influenced by his diverse musical experiences in rock and jazz bands as an electric bassist, in wind, jazz, and New Orleans-style brass bands as a euphonium, bass trombone, and tuba player, and by his study of Indian Carnatic Music. His creative interests include working with everyone from classically trained musicians to improvisers, acoustic chamber music to large ensembles, and interactive electronic interfaces to live brain data.

Biedenbender has had the privilege of collaborating with many renowned performers and ensembles, including Alarm Will Sound, the Albany (NY) Symphony Orchestra, the PRISM Saxophone Quartet, the Stenhammar String Quartet (Sweden), the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, the United States Navy Band, the Philharmonie Baden-Baden (Germany), VocalEssence, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, the Music from Copland House Ensemble, Detroit Symphony Orchestra bass trombonist Randall Hawes and pianist Kathryn Goodson, the Juventas New Music Ensemble, the Washington Kantorei, the Atlantic Chamber Ensemble, the Boston New Music Initiative, Ann Arbor Dance Works, Composer’s Inc. (San Francisco), and the Grand Valley State New Music Ensemble.

Recent recognition for Biedenbender’s work includes the 2018 Rudolf Nissim Prize, the 2019 Sousa/Ostwald Award, two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards (2011, 2012), and the 2012 Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Composers Award. His music has been heard in many diverse venues, including Carnegie Hall, Gaudeamus Muziekweek/TivoliVredenberg (Netherlands), Symphony Space (New York City), the Smithsonian Museum, the German Embassy (Washington, D.C.), the Antonín Dvořák Museum (Prague), the Old First Church (San Francisco), Harris Hall (Aspen Music Festival), the Interlochen Center for the Arts, Hill Auditorium (Ann Arbor, Mich.), as well as at numerous universities and conservatories, and it has been broadcast on NPR stations around the country, including on WNYC’s Soundcheck with John Schaefer and on Center Stage from Wolf Trap. David’s music can also be heard on many commercially available recordings, including on Naxos, XAS, Summit, Cobra, GIA, Centaur, Bright Shiny Things, and Innova record labels, among others. Recent and upcoming commissions and projects include works for yMusic, the New York Virtuoso Singers, the American Brass Quintet, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, saxophonist Tim McAllister, the Akropolis Reed Quintet, Kevin Sedatole and the Michigan State University Wind Symphony, and the Garth Newel Piano Quartet.

In addition to composing, Biedenbender is a dedicated teacher. He is Associate Professor of Composition in the College of Music at Michigan State University, and he has served previously on the composition and theory faculty at Boise State University, Eastern Michigan University, Oakland University, Madonna University, Music in the Mountains Summer Conservatory in Durango, Colo., and the Interlochen Arts Camp. He has also taught an interdisciplinary course in creativity and collaboration in the Living Arts program at the University of Michigan. His composition students have achieved regional and national recognition for their creative work, including numerous awards and acceptance into renowned summer music festivals and undergraduate and graduate composition programs.

Biedenbender received the Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees in composition from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Music degree in composition and theory from Central Michigan University. His primary musical mentors include Evan Chambers, Kristin Kuster, Stephen Rush, Michael Daugherty, Bright Sheng, Christopher Lees, David R. Gillingham, José Luis-Maurtúa, John Williamson, and Mark Cox. He has also studied at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study with Anders Hillborg and Steven Stucky, the Aspen Music Festival and School, and in Mysore, India where he studied South Indian Carnatic music, focusing on the mridangam with Vidwan G.S. Ramanujan. For more information, visit

Western Michigan University is pleased to welcome David Biedenbender as guest composer for the School of Music's 53rd annual Spring Conference on Wind and Percussion Music.