Born: 1986 (New York, NY)
David Aaron Carpenter was the first Prize Winner of the 2006 Walter W. Naumburg Foundation’s Viola Competition.
Born into a family of musical siblings, Carpenter grew up in Great Neck, Long Island, and began studying the violin at the age of six. At 12, he embarked upon learning the viola and by the time he was 16, the viola had become his primary instrument. He continued to pursue both instruments at the pre-college divisions of the Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music. He also studied at Italy’s Accademia Chigiana, Switzerland’s International Music Academy, and the Verbier Festival Academy. His teachers included Pinchas Zukerman, Roberto Diaz, Seiji Ozawa, Robert Mann, Nobuko Imai, Boris Belkin, and Yuri Bashmet.
Since 2003, Carpenter has been performing with leading musicians and orchestras in the United States and Europe. As the First Prize winner of the 2005 Philadelphia Orchestra Young Artists Competition, he performed the Walton Viola Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Christoph Eschenbach. He has made his recital debuts in the United States at venues as Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center, and made his debut in Germany with the Staatskapelle Dresden performing the Schnittke Viola Concerto. In 2008, he was Maxim Vengerov’s last-minute replacement for performances of Benjamin Yusupov's Viola, Tango, Rock Concerto with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra in Switzerland. He has performed in the United States at Avery Fisher Hall, Chicago’s Krannert Center, and San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre, among other venues.
Carpenter’s recording on the Ondine label, a viola version of the Elgar Cello Concerto (arr. Lionel Tertis/Carpenter) and the Schnittke Viola Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Christoph Eschenbach, received international acclaim and received awards such as the Editor’s Choice Award by Gramophone Magazine and Disc of the Month by The New Yorker. His solo debut album was released in2016 on Warner Classics and features a program of 12 Seasons, including Vivaldi and Piazolla in viola arrangements, and a new work composed especially for the Salomé Orchestra by Alexey Shor: Four Seasons of Manhattan.
Carpenter was also the recipient of the 2010 Avery Fisher Career Grant. In 2006, Carpenter was selected as a protégé by mentor Pinchas Zukerman as part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, an international philanthropic program that pairs masters in their disciplines with emerging talents for a year of one-to-one creative exchange.
He collaborated in recital and chamber music conertswi Emanuel Ax, Sarah Chang, Leonidas Kavakos, Sol Gabetta, Julian Rachlin, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Jean-Yves Thibaudet,and Yuja Wangand performs regularly at the Schleswig-Holstein and Verbier Music Festivals. Carpenter was designated a Presidential Scholar and received the Presidential Gold Medal at The Kennedy Center. In addition to his musical accomplishments, David received his A.B. degree in Political Science and International Relations from Princeton University in 2008.
Carpenter performs with his two siblings, Sean and Lauren, together known as The Carpenters. With their mother, Grace, they run Carpenter Fine Violins, which deals in valuable violins.
He appears with his two siblings in a 2015 documentary film directed by Australian director Scott Hicks, called Highly Strung. The film depicts attempts by the Ngeringa Arts Centre to obtain four rare and valuable Guadagnini violins for the Australian String Quartet ,and portrays the relationships within the Australian String Quartet, the wealthy arts patron, Ulrike Klein(founder of Jurlique) who purchases the violins, and The Carpenters.