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David Önaç began formal piano lessons at age four in the Caribbean, but he also began improvising from an early age and was fascinated by the rich harmonies played by Bahamian gospel keyboardists. These three areas of musical interest have remained central to him ever since.

David is a highly qualified, experienced and versatile, pianist, composer, director and educator based in Manchester, UK.  Qualifications in piano performance include DipABRSM (with distinction) and LRSM (distinction), and his academic qualifications in music and composition include: MA Hons Music (Univ Cambridge), MPhil in Composition (Univ Cambridge), MMUS in Composition (RNCM), PhD in Composition (Univ Manchester).  David also has c.20 years’ experience in private and peripatetic teaching at all levels, and has taught and lectured in Music at the University of Birmingham, University of Manchester and Junior RNCM - a clear indication of his passion for the development and advancement of young musicians. 

In addition to being an experienced performer and teacher of traditional piano repertoire, David is an accomplished and versatile pianist in Jazz & Gospel styles and has been Musical Director for various gospel choirs in Manchester for nearly 20 years (most recently MD of Voices Beyond Gospel Collective since 2015).  This has included awards in national competitions (UGCY), television appearances (BBC 1 Songs of Praise) and broadcasts on BBC Radio 2 and 4.  He also premieres and performs his own virtuosic, contemporary concerted compositions for piano (and larger ensembles including full orchestra).  Prizes for his piano works include BBC Young Composer of the Year (runner up for his piano piece ‘The Butterfly’) and the RPS Composition Prize (winner for 3 pieces including his piano concerto ‘Newton’s Cradle’.  For details, and recordings of his piano playing, visit composer's website.  

Most recently, David was commissioned to write and arrange works for the ABRSM's 2023-24 piano syllabus as well as their new Pop Performer piano pathway, such as the Grade 5 piece 'A Distant Star in the Stillness'.  As a composer-arranger, he therefore has an in-depth understanding of the technical parameters of ABRSM piano syllabuses, and his students have a high success rate in ABRSM exams.  As a piano teacher, David gives comprehensive piano lessons which are tailored to the student, helping them understand a piece's musical context, which prepare students thoroughly for performances and exams, and which can accommodate a variety of specialisms and styles.  His significant academic experience means students receive excellent support when preparing for Music Theory exams, and when preparing applications to study Music at university (including Oxbridge).  David's current cohort of piano students study at all levels from complete beginner to diploma level.

In 2023, David Önaç’s Five Etudes for solo piano were selected as the set work for the semifinals of the prestigious Scottish International Piano Competition, with David specially invited to judge high profile pianists from all over the world playing his pieces at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  These virtuosic piano études were written while David was only 20 years old during his MPhil in Composition at the University of Cambridge. They had their European premiere by renowned pianist Peter Donohoe in Brussels in 2007, their Cambridge premiere by Simon Smith, and the composer has also performed them himself on several occasions, which you can listen to here > 

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