The American conductor, David Bowden, was born and raised in North Carolina. He has loved music since he was a very young child. At the age of 4, he began studying the piano with his mother. Beginning in elementary school, he was accepted as a student in piano at Duke University. In addition to the piano, he has played clarinet, oboe, organ and viola. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music in Illinois, majoring in piano performance with a minor in organ; he has a particular love for orchestral music that features piano and organ.. While a student at Wheaton, David met his wife, Donna, during an intramural volleyball game. Graduate school took them to Bloomington, where he earned his Master of Music in Choral Conducting at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. After teaching in the college setting for several years, he returned to Indiana University and earned a doctorate in orchestral conducting.
Founding Music Director and Conductor of the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic and the Philharmonic Chorus, David Bowden has provided artistic vision and leadership throughout the years as the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic has continued to grow, change and thrive.
During this time, David Bowden and the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic have been broadcast nationwide many times on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today” and on Public Radio International’s “Pipedreams.” They have recorded with Dan McKinley Marcel Dupré’s Complete Music for Organ and Orchestra, which was released on the international classical label, Naxos Records. Of this release, Fanfare stated, “[The recording is] absolutely superb . . . plenty of fire and zeal.” The American Record Guide praised the “excellent performance under Bowden’s gifted leadership.” BBC Magazine said that it is “delightful, authoritative, well worth hearing.” And Organ concluded simply, “brilliant, first class.” Dr. Charles Webb, in reviewing the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic’s Verdi Requiem performance in the Columbus Republic, stated, “The entire piece was skillfully conducted by David Bowden, who welded his singers into a supple singing unit that negotiated the difficult operatic vocal lines with finesse. He brought cohesiveness, excellent tempos, and passion to one of music’s most inspired works.”
David Bowden enjoys performing a wide variety of repertoire - from opera to symphonic standards to pops and country music. He especially enjoys educational concerts for schools, hoping to inspire children to choose to learn to play an instrument, believing that making music changes lives.
Director of the New Music Project of the Conductors Guild since 1998, David Bowden is nationally recognized as an advocate for the arts, music education, and innovative programming. He is a popular speaker at national and international conferences as well as at leadership organizations, service clubs, and school events. His commitment to new music and exploring unusual repertoires has led to five ASCAP awards for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music. Other awards and distinctions include inclusion in Who’s Who in America and Who's Who in the World, election to the Conductors Guild Board, receiving The Patriot Award, serving on the ASCAP Composer Standard Awards Panel, and lifetime membership in the Pi Kappa Lambda National Honor Society. He is also a member of the Board of that international organization and of the WFIU Community Advisory Board. He served as President of the Board of the Bloomington Pops for five years.
In addition to the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, David Bowden is also the Music Director and Conductor of the Carmel Symphony Orchestra (since 1999) and Music Director and Conductor of the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra (THSO) since 1997. He has provided artistic vision and leadership as the THSO has grown artistically and has expanded its outreach to the surrounding region.. During his tenure, each of these orchestras have experienced exponential growth in audience attendance, artistic excellence and community support. He has also worked in church music ministry for most of his life.
David Bowden has guest conducted many orchestras throughout the USA, including multiple engagements with the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra and the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. Among his other recent engagements are orchestras in San Diego, Asheville, Battle Creek, Corpus Christi, Lafayette, Muskegon, Savannah, Winston-Salem, Marquette, and Peoria. Guest appearances have also taken him to Europe. He has received rave critical reviews for conducting “a sizzler, emphasizing the intense emotion of the music” and for the “sheer inspired audacity” of his programming. In Barcelona, El Periodico pronounced him “a genuine success.”
David Bowden loves both the mountains and the ocean. He is an avid reader and basketball fan, and enjoys running and traveling. He is married to Donna, a registered nurse, and has two grown daughters.