Dr David A. T. Önaç MA (Cantab), LRSM, MMus, MPhil, PhD

Dr David A. T. Önaç

Department of Music
Teaching Fellow in Music

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am a composer of instrumental and vocal music particularly interested in harmony. I am also a classical, jazz and gospel pianist, and often premiere my own compositions and those of my peers.


MA (Hons) Music - University of Cambridge

MPhil in Musical Composition - University of Cambridge

MMus in Composition - Royal Northern College of Music

LRSM in Piano Performance - ABRSM

PhD in Composition - University of Manchester


Since September 2008 I have taught musicianship, orchestration, composition and tonality at the University of Manchester.

Since September 2013 I have taught harmony, counterpoint and modules in the history of music at the University of Birmingham.


As a composer, my current research is focussed on writing works which explore the relationship between teleology and harmony.

Other activities

I am the Musical Director for several gospel choirs including the award-winning Harmony Gospel Choir.


Selected performances

  • String Quartet No.6
    Royal Philharmonic Society//Cheltenham Music Festival July 2013
    Carducci Quartet
  • Expanses (a.sax, pno)
    RNCM Gold Medal Festival, June 2013
    Kyran Matthews (a.sax), David Önaç (pno)
  • Newton’s Cradle
    (solo pno, ob, c.a., 2cl, bn, 2hns, 2tpt, 1perc, hp, 2vn, 1va, 1 vc, 1db)
    New Music Northwest Festival, RNCM, March 2012
    David Önaç (pno), Theo Vinden (cond), Vaganza
  • Ayla (vln, pno)
    Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall, Manchester, May 2011
    Marc Danel (vln), David Önaç (pno)
  • From Different Places
    (orch: 3fl (picc), 3ob (c.a.), 3cl, 3bn (cont), 4 hn, 3 tpt, 2tbn, b.tbn, tba, 2perc, 2hp, vlnI, vlnII, vla, vc, db)
    University of Manchester Symphony Orchestra, Feb 2010
    Mark Heron (cond)
  • …And the Red Sea… (b.tbn, pno)
    Eastern Trombone Workshop, Virginia, USA, March 2009
    Jonathan Warburton (b.tbn), Sophia Kim Cook (pno)
  • Beginnings (fl, vla, hp)
    BBC Philharmonic Chamber Concert Series, Nov 2008
    Victoria Daniel (fl), Stephen Burnard (vla), Clifford Lantaff (hp)
  • In Memory of Timothy Sharpe (string quartet)
    Memorial service, RNCM, Manchester, 2007
    Mather Quartet
  • Gesture (octet: 2vn, va, vc, db, cl, bn, hn)
    RNCM Brett Dean Festival, Manchester, 2007
    Clark Rundell (cond)
  • Truly I say unto you (SATB)
    BBC Singers, 2007, London
  • Four Études (solo piano)
    Manchester International Festival, Brussels, April 2007
    Peter Donohoe (pno)
  • Fantasia (quintet: b.cl, pno, 1perc, vn, vc)
    Stokholm, 2006
    Curious Chamber Players


  • Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize
    (String Quartet No.6, 2012)
  • BBC Young Composer of the Year (runner up)
    (The Butterfly, solo piano, 2000)


  • …And the Red Sea… (B.tbn, pno), Cherry Classics


  • The Heavens Declare, BBC Radio 2, June 2012