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A graduate of Southwestern Oklahoma State University (B.A. in Saxophone Performance, 1976) and Arizona State University (M.M. in Composition, 1980), David Hanson was co-winner of the Duke Ellington Scholarship award from the Eastman School of Music Arrangers' Labs in 1983. He spent three summers at Eastman studying arranging and film scoring with Rayburn Wright and Manny Albam.
In 1984 he was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Grant in Jazz Composition, and has written for percussionist Steve Houghton (on joint commission from the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra), jazz reed master Gary Foster, classical guitar virtuoso Ricardo Iznaola (International Guitar Week premiere of "A Movable Feast" in 1994), Christopher Kelton, Aries Brass Quintet, the Denver Brass, the Alpine Chorale, The Boulder Brass, Marvin Stamm, Nelson Rangell, Jamie Davis, Claude Sim, and Paul Winter.
In August 2001 five of his orchestral arrangements for Paul Winter were performed by the Boston Pops on a national broadcast of "Evening at Pops"on PBS. His compositions for Steve Houghton have been performed by the University of Michigan and Northwestern University Wind Ensembles as well as the Milwaukee Youth Symphony and the Connecticut Youth Symphony. In June 2003 his choral/brass work "Two Whitman Settings" was premiered by the Alpine Chorale with players from the Boulder Brass.
Recently he has been active in creating orchestral arrangements for Paul Winter, Marvin Stamm, Nelson Rangell, Dotsero, Wind Machine, Riders in the Sky, Flash Cadillac, the Bobs, Emilio Navaira, Tish Hinojosa, Don Edwards and Waddie Mitchell, Flaco Jimenez, Jamie Davis, Al Hood, Claude Sim, Bryan Savage, and the Sons of the San Joaquin. These arrangements have been performed by the Boston Pops, National Repertory Orchestra, Pittsburg, St. Louis, Houston, New Jersey, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Utah, Colorado, Atlanta, Minnesota, Ukrainian State Symphony and Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestras.
He has done special arrangements for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. His "Royal Rendezvous" was recorded on the Mike Vax Jazz Orchestra's 2002 CD "BIGBANDJAZZ.NET", and three orchestral arrangements of his are featured on the CD "A Prairie Portrait"with Don Edwards, Waddie Mitchell and the Fort Worth Symphony. Two of his arrangements are featured on the 2008 Jamie Davis CD "It's the Vibe, Not the Perfection". Both arrangements are performed by members of the Count Basie orchestra, with guest soloist Tom Scott performing on both arrangements.
Lamont School of Music trumpet professor Al Hood's recent CD "Just a Little Taste: Al Hood Plays the Writing of Dave Hanson" features the orchestral arrangements and compositions of David Hanson. His "Jazz Violin Concerto" for Claude Sim was premiered at Hambden Hall in Denver on Nov.28, 2008.
For many years he has composed and arranged music for radio and television commercials and industrial films, clients having included Dairy Queen, Grease Monkey, Remax, and the Colorado Lottery. As a jazz pianist, Hanson was featured in the Duke Ellington "role" with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra in their September 20, 2001 performance of the Ellington "Music from the Sacred Concerts" conducted by Marin Alsop, and he has performed as pianist in the Paul Winter Consort.
Hanson teaches in the Jazz and Commercial Music Department at the Lamont School of Music, University of Denver. His music is published by Kendor Music, Really Good Music, and Denver Brass Publications. As an educator, David Hanson has taught at Arizona State University (GTA 1977-80), University of Northern Colorado (Adjunct Professor 1980-84), and Lamont School of Music, University of Denver (Adjunct Professor 1986-2008).