David Marenberg

NYU Steinhardt Songwriting Scholar Award, 2011

David’s road to songwriting was unexpected.  Just your average college kid, bored with his economics classes, he began writing music for groups around campus and found it far more fulfilling.  At the age of 21, with a little more formal training under his belt, he wrote his first symphony, “California,” an unprecedented senior thesis for his alma mater, Amherst College. Eager to explore the world of visual sound, David enrolled in the NYU Steinhardt School of Scoring for Film and Multimedia.  His ambition and success took many by surprise when after only 6 months of scoring to film, he earned a spot at the Aspen Summer Music Festival with professional film scorers David Newman, Jack Smalley and Jeff Rona. Encouraged by Dr. Ron Sadoff, director of the Steinhardt program, David began to seriously consider songwriting, and through NYU was exposed to songwriters Alex Forbes, Billy Seidman, and Phil Galdston.  Grateful to be pulled in so many directions, David is embracing his new opportunities as he crosses over. David writes with a keen sense of orchestral color and dramatic arc, due in no small part to his work with film. Drawing equally from Ravel and Dr. Luke, David crafts his lyrics and melodies with the bigger picture in mind, the synthesis of emotional impact and evocative soundscape.  His award-winning song, “We’ll Catch Fire,” draws you in with undeniable intensity and whimsy.  He credits his college a cappella group for his musical “incubation”, where he was allowed to improvise (sometimes disastrously) with pop and indie arrangements.  Merging his own experiences with the pulse of popular eclecticism, David’s style is noticeably influenced by multimedia artists Imogen Heap and Rufus Wainwright.  He is uniquely attuned to the expressive possibilities of the human voice, both solo and in chorus, and is eager to continue giving that voice to others in addition to developing his own.