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David Carlson (born 13 March 1952) is an American composer.

David Carlson's symphonic works have been performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra (United States), the San Francisco Symphony, the BBC Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood Festival, and others. He has composed several chamber pieces, including a Cello Sonata, a large work for cello and male chorus called Nocturno, and two cello concertos, as well as a large work for viola and piano called True Divided Light, premiered in 2005. Carlson is the recipient of an Academy Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, two commissions from Meet the Composer, Chamber Music America, and several other grants and fellowships. He has written four operas, three of which have had numerous performances. The Midnight Angel, to a libretto and original story by author Peter S. Beagle, was commissioned by Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Glimmerglass Opera, and Sacramento Opera; in 2007 it received a new production by Milwaukee's Skylight Opera Theatre. Dreamkeepers, with an original story and libretto by Aden Ross, was commissioned by the Utah Opera in celebration of the 1996 Utah Centennial and given a new production by the Tulsa Opera in 1998. Anna Karenina, in collaboration with noted British librettist and director Colin Graham, was commissioned by Florida Grand Opera in celebration of the 2007 opening of the Ziff Opera House in Miami, with a co-production by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Anna Karenina received a new production in September 2010 by Opera San Jose, and was performed again in April 2016 by Moores Opera Center at the University of Houston. David Carlson lived and worked in San Francisco his entire adult life and currently lives in Napa Valley, California, with his husband and partner of 33 years, Claudio Laghi.

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