2023 Avivo Prize winner and 2011 ASCAP Mancini Fellow David Anthony Pegel (b. 1986) completed his Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL, where he studied under professors Dr. Dorothy Hindman, Dr. Dennis Kam, and Dr. John Stewart.

He received his Master and Bachelor of Music in Theory and Composition at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, under the direction of Dr. Kenneth A. Jacobs.


David has received performances of more than fifty original works and arrangements in multiple concerts across the Eastern United States and abroad. He has received premieres by groups such as Eastman Tuba-Mirum, Tarleton State University Wind Ensemble, the West Virginia University Horn Ensemble, Georgia Intermediate Mixed All-State Choir 2007, the Oak Ridge Youth Symphony Orchestra, the University of Miami Frost Chorale and Mancini Orchestra, the University of Tennessee Chamber Singers and New Music Orchestra, and others.

David’s instrumental music has been described as “short and sassy on one hand and smart and boldfaced on the other” (Becky Ball, Oak Ridger). His choral repertoire is respected for its “uncanny sense of the marriage of text and music” (Dr. Angela Batey, University of Tennessee), with “rollicking, Celtic-tinged melodies” (Lawrence Budmen, South Florida Classical Review).

Specializing in sacred choral music and instrumental chamber music, David’s influences are very diverse—citing Appalachian bluegrass, Renaissance church music, hard rock, Irish folk dances, and EDM. His compositional philosophy stems from the belief that any writing technique is worth using, and that the strongest music often merges progressive and innovative practices with long-standing traditions, creating a synthesis that at once challenges the audience and gives them a sense of familiarity.

Deus Ex Machina
James R. Cox Auditorium;
Knoxville, TN

Keep Watch, Dear Lord
Canterbury Cathedral;
England, UK

The Dragon’s Tail
St. Bede Episcopal Chapel;
Coral Gables, FL

The Pilgrim
Maurice Gusman Concert Hall;
University of Miami

Evening Canticles in C
Christ Church Cathedral;
Dublin, Ireland

Mourner’s Kaddish
Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall;
San Francisco Music Conservatory


David is an active multi-instrumentalist, often accompanying his own local premieres on piano. He worked as an organist for St. Bede Episcopal Chapel in Coral Gables, FL and has played piano, organ, and harpsichord for University of Miami’s Collegium Musicum and the Miami Bach Society. In addition, David also regularly plays a wide variety of woodwind and brass instruments (including recorder) for multitracks on his YouTube channel, PlagalBytes.

Jean L’Heritier: “Nigra sum”
arranged for five recorders

David is also a vocalist, singing baritone and the occasional countertenor. When he is not singing solo roles in sacred oratorios (recent performances include Pilate from Bach’s Johannes-Passion, Evangelist in Daniel Pinkham’s Seven Last Words of Christ, and bass soloist for Purcell’s Behold I Bring You Glad Tidings), he regularly sings with local choral ensembles at any given opportunity.

“The Parting Glass”
arranged for woodwind sextet


David (known as “Dr. Pegel” when he is on campus) currently works as an Assistant Professor of Music Composition and Technology at Kennesaw State University in the Dr. Bobbie Bailey School of Music. His repertoire includes courses in composition, scoring for media, notation and production software, and theory/aural skills classes.

David previously worked as a lecturer at the University of Miami Frost School of Music as one of the development leaders for  Frost’s Experiential Music Curriculum, which focuses on bringing music theory practically into ensemble performances through improvisation and composition. He also taught Theory Fundamentals for music minors and musical theatre students, as well as Advanced Counterpoint for graduate students. He is regularly praised for his enthusiastic classroom demeanor, encouragement of open dialogue during lectures, and catering to a wide variety of skill sets and learning styles.

David throughout his career has taken a particular interest in the education of young musicians at the middle and high school level. He served as a theory teacher for the Frost Preparatory Academy, teaching music theory and aural skills to middle and high school students to provide a strong foundation for when they pursue their college degrees. He also served as Dean of Musicians for Miami Music Project, an El Sistema organization, which provides free private lessons and ensemble memberships to students in the underprivileged areas of Miami. In this role, David helped to recruit players, took an additional role in ensemble directing and sectional leading, and even played timpani and percussion with the honors orchestra during understaffed rehearsals.

In addition to traditional lecture settings, David has also taught private lessons in theory and composition for high school students, offers individual and group theory tutoring for undergraduate and graduate students, and serves as a coach for aural skills development. Areas of focus for composition lessons include motivic development, orchestration, text setting, and expansion of repertoire knowledge.

Theory Fundamentals
Intervals with chromatic solfege

Advanced Counterpoint
Introduction to Bach’s Fugues

Composition Lesson
Robert Tindle (college junior)