The Music of David Ocker

The largest portion of composer David Ocker's music is for groups of acoustic instruments, ranging from solos to orchestral works. In these pieces he draws heavily on his experience as a clarinetist. Ocker's music, as described by the Los Angeles Times "can intrigue, fascinate and entertain even the jaded listener. Eclectic in the most positive sense, Ocker reveals his influences - Brahms, Ives, Copland and jazz - sometimes eloquently, always without self-conciousness."

For example, Ocker's works include a solo bass clarinet piece derived from a Brahms symphony, a solo bass piece in which the performer both sings and plays, a set of musical limericks, a five-hour tape environment and a computer program to generate music from fractals. His chamber work Pride and Foolishness has been performed on the Los Angeles Festival, the Pacific Contemporary Music Festival in Seoul, South Korea, and on the Monday Evening Concerts. When the California EAR Unit played Pride and Foolishness at the Cal Arts Contemporary Music Festival in 1988, John Henken described it as having "the dark grace of some jazz arrangements of Bach, compounded in equal measure of minor mode moodiness and insistent rhythmic swing." Ocker has completed two works for chamber orchestra: Waiting for the Messiah and Melodic Symphony.

A graduate of Carleton College and the California Institute of the Arts, Ocker was a founding member and later president of the Independent Composers Association. He was also a founding member of XTET, a chamber ensemble with a special interest in the music of the twentieth century. Called a "super-clarinetist" by the L.A. Herald Examiner, Ocker has performed the music of Frank Zappa with the London Symphony Orchestra, and one of his solo recitals, given at New Music America, was broadcast nationally. His interest in improvisation has led him to create entire, spontaneous concerts with multi-instrumentalist Vinnie Golia. One such event was described by music critic Alan Rich as "a splendidly communicative encounter by two of this region's most valued progressive musicians." Ocker has also been very active preparing music by others for first performance or publication. Composers with whom he has worked closely on major projects include John Adams, William Kraft and Frank Zappa.

New from David Ocker: David is now blogging. His blog is called Mixed Meters, and on it he shares humrous anecdotes, insightful commentary on a variety of subjects, good photos of cats and other things, and best of all, recent music from a fascinating series called 30 Second Spots.

David Ocker

Bio Works
Home Page

Leisure Planet Music

About Composers Catalogue Ordering Audio