David "Clay" Mettens

David "Clay" Mettens
Cohort Year: 2015
Advisor(s): Augusta Read Thomas
Research Interests: Orchestral music, computer music, opera, 20th/21st century British composers

The Chicago Tribune has praised the music of David “Clay” Mettens (b.1990) as “a thing of remarkable beauty,” displaying a “sensitive ear for instrumental color.” He reflects upon the experience of wonder in music that ranges from rich and sonorous to bright and crystalline, seeking expressive immediacy in lucid forms and dramatic shapes. His work has been recognized with Ithaca College’s 2018 Heckscher Foundation Composition Prize, first prize in the 2018 Salvatore Martirano Composition Competition, a 2016 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, and a commission from the American Opera Initiative, premiered in 2015 by Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center. His orchestra piece “Sleeping I am carried...” was selected for the Underwood New Music Readings with the American Composers Orchestra and the 2015 [‘tactus] Young Composers Forum with the Brussels Philharmonic. Subsequently, the Brussels Philharmonic, led by Stéphane Denève, performed the piece in December 2016. Other orchestral performances include L’orchestre philharmonique de Radio France, Tonkünstler Orchestra, and the Chicago Civic Orchestra.

Additionally, his works have been performed by Spektral Quartet, Yarn/Wire, the New York Virtuoso Singers, Contempo at the University of Chicago, Ensemble Dal Niente, the Civitas Ensemble on the Chicago Ear Taxi Festival, and the [Switch~ Ensemble]. He is currently studying with Anthony Cheung, Sam Pluta, and Augusta Read Thomas at the University of Chicago. He earned a masters degree at the Eastman School of Music and completed undergraduate studies in composition and clarinet at the University of South Carolina.

Teaching Experience

Lecturer for Electronic Music I: Composing with Sound (Winter ‘19, Spring ‘19)
Course Assistant for Topics in the History of Western Art Music III (Spring '18)
Lecturer for Introduction to the Materials and Design of Music (Winter '18)
Course Assistant for Introduction to Composition (Winter '17)