Classical Music

Passport USA – David Sartor

Welcome to my Passport of Composers from countries around the world. This is the first of 24 composer profiles that I’ll be posting throughout the year. Combining my love of travel with my love of music, I’ve chosen a composer from each of the countries in which I have either lived or visited. With that in mind, we’re starting with my home country of the United States of America with our first composer, Mr. David P. Sartor.

The U.S. is best known for great composers such as Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, Samuel Barber, John Williams. They’ve all written fantastic music. Just look at Appalachian Spring or Rhapsody in Blue, Adagio for Strings or heck – the music for any film directed by Steven Spielberg. We all know it and we all love it.

But what about other American composers? Sure we know Copland, Gershwin, Barber and Williams, but what about Phillip Glass? Michael Torke? John Cage? Dave Sartor? If you’re not a professional musician, chances are less likely that you’ve heard of them. And that’s OK. Getting music by living composers on a concert program is quite a challenge. In fact, many don’t even accept unsolicited scores. Makes sense, but it makes it really hard on anyone who is “up and coming” in the world of composition.

Happy to say, people really are making a living creating new music that doesn’t necessarily fall into the typical genres of what you’d hear on 99% of the radio stations. Perhaps that’s part of the challenge as well: very few classical music stations. If you enjoy a local orchestra, shoot them an Email asking for more “modern” music by living (and local) composers. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you hear!

Prior to last fall, I’d not heard of any of those other composers, either. Well – I’d heard of Phillip Glass but I still can’t tell you a thing he’s written. Michael Torke I discovered at a free concert at the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and now enjoy pieces like Run, Javelin and Charcoal. John Cage – well, he’s interesting! Someone challenged me to “listen” to his 4’33 (ha ha!) and David Sartor? Well – I only know him via Facebook but feel like his music is a wonderful new discovery!


David P. Sartor

Hometown: Nashville, TN

Education: Blair School of Music, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory, and the University of Tennessee

My favorite works:  Reveries, Parabola, Meditation

David Sartor is an award-winning composer based out of Nashville, TN where he not only creates beautiful music but also teaches the next generation of composers at Trevecca Nazarene University. He composes a variety of music, but is perhaps best known for his chamber, symphonic and choral works, such as my first discovery: Reveries, a gorgeous piece of music that you may find to be relaxing and tranquil.

From Mr. Sartor’s biography, “In 2009, Sartor was inducted as a National Patron of Delta Omicron International Music Fraternity in recognition of his accomplishments as a composer and conductor. His works are recorded on the ERM label and are published by E.C. Schirmer, Shawnee Press, and Metamorphic Music. A graduate of film scoring workshops with Steven Scott Smalley, Richard Glasser & Aaron Zigman, he has also scored a number of widely distributed video documentaries and features.”

This next piece is called Parabola, for Brass and Timpani. I think this may be my favorite, but I also grew up playing in a band, not an orchestra, so I’m naturally drawn to such instrumentation. Check it out – you’ll like it!

Composition is an act of faith. While most composers strive for artistic excellence in their work, music also serves to communicate. Without willing players and attentive audiences, any composition is merely a complex set of instructions. Every piece of music, whether new or historical, is a testament to its composer’s faith in the partnership among composer, performers, and audience.

 – David Sartor

This last video is a lovely piece for the cello and piano called Meditation. Gorgeous!

I hope you enjoyed sampling some of his compositions. To learn more about David Sartor and his music, please visit his website. I hope you’ll take a chance to listen to some more of his music because there are some really good pieces available.

On a side note, if you’re interested in mysteries and thrillers, you may want to visit the website of his wife, author Nancy Sartor. Creativity certainly runs in the family!

Photo of Mr. Sartor courtesy of

5 thoughts on “Passport USA – David Sartor

      • He’s also the composer of a dozen or so operas, 10 symphonies, and a giant heap of other music. You might’ve seen mentions of Einstein on the Beach over the last 18 months or so, because it has been touring the world, was shown on the Internet, etc.

  1. You have chosen well – Mr. Sartor is a totally awesome composer! For some time I have been lobbying Alan Valentine of the Nashville Symphony to commission him for a new work, and I hope Mr. Valentine’s thoughts move in that direction before too much longer. It’s important to support our living composers while they are still…living!

    • Thanks so much! I’m so glad to have been introduced to his music. January is turning out to be turning into Living Composers month – an interview with Michael Torke, this profile of Dave and then for Canada, a profile on John Estacio!

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