John David Earnest

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music (Composition)

Hall of Music, 9


For the past 50 years, Mr. Earnest has been teaching composition and orchestration privately in New York City. In 1999 he was appointed the Johnston Visiting Professor of Music at Whitman College, where he taught composition, as well as a seminar on American Music and the Arts in the 20th Century. He continues his association with Whitman College as Composer-in-Residence while also teaching composition for a limited time each semester. He has taught at Lehman College, City University of New York, and Rutgers University in New Jersey. Fellowships have been awarded Mr. Earnest by the National Endowment for the Arts and the MacDowell Colony. His music is published by E.C. Schirmer Music Co., Boston.

M.M. Composition
University of Texas in Austin

B.M. Composition
University of Texas in Austin

He has written extensively for orchestra, chamber ensemble, chorus, solo voice, concert band, opera and film. His Second Symphony: "The Hastening Light" for solo soprano, chorus and orchestra, was commissioned and premiered by the Walla Walla Symphony, Yaacov Bergman, conductor, in February 2001. Mr. Earnest's Chasing the Sun, a scherzo for orchestra has been widely played throughout the United States, and was recorded in Poland by the Warsaw National Philharmonic. Other orchestral works include Bountiful Voyager; Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (commissioned and premiered by the Mid-Columbia Symphony, Robert Bode, conductor) ; Sun Songs and Nocturnes (commissioned for Chanticleer and the New Jersey Symphony, Hugh Wolff, conductor); and Southern Exposure (commissioned and premiered by the Mobile Symphony, Scott Speck, conductor).

Mr. Earnest's chamber music includes the Sonata for Piano (commissioned and premiered by Lee D. Thompson); Trois Morceaux (trio for clarinet, violin and cello); and The Blue Estuaries (for soprano and seven instruments; premiered by soprano Laural Klein and the Zephyr Ensemble, Robert Bode, conductor). Major choral works are A Van Doren Triptych (commissioned by the U.S. Air Force Singing Sargeants, Craig Jessup, conductor); Only in the Dream (commissioned by the New York City Gay Men's Chorus, Gary Miller, conductor); Variations on Three American Folksongs (commissioned by the Whitman College Chorale, Robert Bode, conductor) and many more choral works, both large and small. Mr. Earnest has been an active theater composer with two one-act operas, Howard (written with librettist Tray Christopher) and A Desperate Waltz (written with librettist Mervyn Goldstein). His two-act opera, The Nature of Reality, was commissioned by Encompass New Opera Theatre in New York City.