David Arditti was born in 1964, of mixed Jewish and Austrian descent, and brought up in Christchurch, Dorset. He now lives in north London. After training for a scientific career, during which time he studied music privately and spent an increasing amount of time singing, playing the piano and composing, he eventually took up music full-time and now principally composes, plays the piano, and promotes concerts.
He has studied the piano with Peter Bithell of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and conducting with Neil Thompson of the Royal College of Music, Gregory Rose and the late George Hurst. As a composer he is largely self-taught, though he has attended classes at Morley College and been involved for many years with London Composers Forum, with its educational as well as concert-giving functions. He acknowledges valuable advice and help down the years from composers W. F. Hutchinson, Paul Webster, Anthony Payne and David Matthews.
He frequently acts as accompanist to singers and instrumentalists in recitals of his own and other music, and has has conducted many choral and orchestral works, including the premieres of some of his own. He was for some time the regular conductor of the Chelsea Singers, a chamber group in London with a wide repertoire.
His music is based on a traditional approach to the craft of composition and interest in beauty of sound, and is generally described as melodic and romantic. It is heavily influenced by the English romantic composers and folk music, but also often has strong rhythmic drive influenced perhaps by 20th century minimalism and popular music styles.
Important strands in his composing have been the long series of song-cycles and many pieces for unaccompanied choir to texts by classic English, Scottish, Irish, and American poets, which stem both from his love of the literature and his performing association with several fine singers and vocal groups. He has performed his song-cycles, setting poetry by Burns, Christina Rossetti, Robert Herrick, Shelley, Hardy, De La Mare and others with singers including William Revels, Stephen Brown and Ezra Williams at recitals in Edinburgh and London. Some of these pieces have been taken up and recorded by other performers. His largest vocal work is Chamber Music, a 30-minute long cycle of settings of James Joyce for tenor and chamber ensemble, first performed in London by Stephen Brown and Ludamus in 1998. Most of his pieces for unaccompanied choir have been performed by Camden Chamber Choir since 2000 and include settings of Herrick (again), Sidney, Longfellow and anonymous authors.
There have been two large liturgical works for chorus with soloists and orchestra: Requiem, first performed by the Exmoor Singers in London in 1991, and Mass in C, first performed by Edinburgh University Choral Society in 1996. These were both performed with organ, supplemented with a few other instruments, but full orchestral versions exist, not so far performed.
There have been several works for symphony orchestra, including two Ceremonial Marches for very large orchestra (unperformed), a Comic Overture, performed by Woodford Symphony Orchestra in 2005, and the five-movement Woodford Suite, written for Woodford Symphony Orchestra and performed by them in 2011, pieces for chamber orchestra, several of which have been performed by performed by the London Contemporary Chamber Orchestra, including a Clarinet Concertino (2004), a march for brass band, and two marches for wind band entitled Time and Tide and Air, Land and Sea, which have performed many times by Lewisham Wind Band, Lambeth Wind Orchestra and London Consorts of Winds since 2006.
In the chamber music line there have been two string quartets, which have been played by Ludamus and the Bingham Quartet, amongst others, a Sonatina for wind ensemble, written for London Consorts of Winds and performed several times by them since 2008, a Suite for brass quintet, first performed in 2012, Fantasia on a West-country Tune for brass quartet, first performed in 2005, and Introduction and Allegro Brilliante for Flute, oboe and piano, first performed in 2009.
Smaller works include a Suite in C for guitar, performed by Dennis Cooke in 2013, The Song of Elihu for tenor and organ, written for the 11th Church of Christ, Scientist, London, performed several times since 2011 and available on a CD of ‘Music for Healing’, and many pieces for piano. David wrote and performed a New Wedding March for the marriage of his brother, and recently his ‘Grand Concert Rag’ Marta has been played on various occasions in both solo and duet form (by the composer and his duet partner Marta Mitchell) and recorded by Neil Crossland. His most popular piano works however have been the set of Six Songs without Words, written between 1992 and 1998 and modelled after Mendelssohn, which have been played and taken up as teaching pieces in the UK, USA and Israel.
David has written twice for film: a score for a short film A short Walk by the Canal by Richard Lawes and a documentary score for Eclipse! produced by the Society for Popular Astronomy.
He frequently rearranges his pieces for new forces and the requirements of different groups. For example Fantasia on a West-country tune exists in three different quartet arrangements and a quintet arrangement for various combinations of winds, and Time and Tide exists in a flexible version performable by almost any combination of wind instruments. Some of the orchestral pieces are devised so they are effective for both chamber orchestra and a fuller orchestra.
Amongst various voluntary roles David is currently Chair of London Composers Forum. This is an association of composers resident in and around the capital, dedicated to organising collaborative concerts and projects promoting the music of the members, and helping them to develop artistically and technically. It was founded in 1995, and current Honorary Patrons are Dame Judith Weir, Master of the Queen’s Music, and David Matthews.