Professor David Burnand is an Anglo-Irish performer, composer and sound designer. He writes on a range of musical subjects, including film music, music theory and the training of composers. David has also written a novel set in his hometown of Brighton.

Initially self-taught, playing guitar and saxophone in Brighton bands in the late 1960s, he moved to London to study for a BMus degree, followed by an MA in Electronic Music. After university, David played in Don Rendell’s Big Band and then signed to Arista and Warner Brothers with Huang Chung (later Wang Chung). Following appearances on Top of the Pops and Old Grey Whistle Test, David eventually tired of the pop industry and took up a lecturing post in London University, later moving to the Royal College of Music where he headed the Centre for Screen Music Studies. David set up and taught the Masters in Screen Composition at the RCM, considered to be one of the 10 bests film scoring courses in the world, and the only one of those outside the USA.

Now retired from academic life, David plays alto sax in a duo with jazz guitarist Dave Thomas, in a quartet playing Brazilian, Cuban and South African music, and he is in the process of reforming the Town Waites – Tom Waits tribute band. He also writes arrangements for the community music band Saxshop.


Publications include:

Music and sound design for Cette sale terre (FilmFour 2001); DVD and soundtrack CD releases by FilmFour 2004 and ED 2007.
‘Reasons Why Film Music is Held in Low Regard: a British Perspective’, Brio, 39/1, 2002.
The major music articles and several composer biographies in The Encyclopedia of British Film, ed. B. McFarlane, Methuen/BFI, 2003.
‘Tarkovsky’s Gift’, Soundscape, eds. L. Sider, D. Freeman & J. Sider, Wallflower Press, 2003.
‘Fast and Cheap? The Film Music of John Carpenter’, The Cinema of John Carpenter, eds I. Conrich & D. Woods, Wallflower Press, 2004.
‘Scoring This Filthy Earth’, European Film Music, eds M. Mera & D. Burnand, Ashgate, 2006.
Stolen Hours, iBook novel 2013 link
Early Jazz Theory, iBook 2013 link
Playing the Blues Scale, iBook 2017 link