The Chicago Tribune has praised the music of David “Clay” Mettens (b.1990) as “a thing of remarkable beauty,” displaying a “sensitive ear for instrumental color.” His work has been recognized with the Aspen Music Festival and School’s Hermitage Prize, a 2020 Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, Ithaca College’s 2018 Heckscher Foundation Composition Prize, first prize in the 2018 Salvatore Martirano Composition Competition, and a 2016 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award. His music appears on recordings by the Grossman Ensemble (Fountain of Time, 2020), Fuego Quartet (Migration, 2019), Lotus (Rogue Lotus, 2018), and American Wild Ensemble (Duos and Trios, 2022, and Music in the American Wild, 2018).
He most recently studied composition with Anthony Cheung, Sam Pluta, and Augusta Read Thomas while completing PhD studies at the University of Chicago. He earned his masters degree at the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with David Liptak, Robert Morris, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, and computer music with Allan Schindler. A native of Covington, KY, he attended the University of South Carolina, earning an undergraduate degree in music composition and a clarinet performance certificate. There, his composition teachers were John Fitz Rogers and Fang Man.
- Phd, 2021 Music Composition — University of Chicago
- Master of Arts, 2015 Music Composition — Eastman School of Music
- Bachelor of Music & Performance Certificate 2013 Music Composition and Clarinet Performance — University of South Carolina