Homertonian composer David Onac hits all the right notes

By Laura Kenworthy 1min read

Last week, the ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) announced with great fanfare the 350 pieces which will make up the syllabus for their graded piano exams in 2023-24. Among the few pieces chosen to promote the new syllabus is A Distant Star in the Stillness, written by Homerton alumnus Dr David Onac for Grade 5 piano. David was specially commissioned to write the piece for the new syllabus, which aims to highlight music from diverse traditions and composers from a wider range of backgrounds. 

After graduating with a BA in Music at Homerton in 2005, David stayed on to complete an MPhil in Composition with Professor Robin Holloway. He then went on to an MMUS in Composition at the Royal Northern College of Music, and a PhD in Musical Composition at the University of Manchester. In 2012, the year he completed his PhD, he received the Royal Philharmonic Society’s prestigious Composition Prize.

David has lectured at the University of Birmingham, and the University of Manchester, and now teaches composition and jazz at the RNCM’s Junior School. He is also the Musical Director of the multi-award-winning University of Manchester Harmony Gospel Choir and professional gospel collective Voices Beyond, and describes himself as "passionate about seeing young musicians achieve their greatest potential."

A clip from A Distant Star in the Stillness can be heard here.