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School of Music

Faculty and Staff

David Cutler

Title: Distinguished Professor / Entrepreneurship and Innovation
School of Music
Phone: 803-777-8361

School of Music Room 106


The Savvy Musician
Yamaha Master Educator
The Puzzler Company

David Cutler sitting at piano in the ocean with steampunk theme


David Cutler balances a varied career as a jazz and classical composer, pianist, educator, arranger, conductor, collaborator, concert producer, author, blogger, consultant, speaker, advocate and entrepreneur. (In fact, a recent career diagram illustrated that he maintains no less than 24 income streams! Ah, the life of an artist…) In all these pursuits, he works to push boundaries while connecting with new audiences.

One of the world’s leading voices on arts leadership, career, and entrepreneurship training, he has offered ground-breaking interactive workshops for organizations such as the Julliard School, Dutch Classical Music Meeting, New World Symphony Orchestra, Indiana University and Italy’s soundSCAPE music festival. Cutler’s book “The Savvy Musician: Building a Career, Earning a Living, & Making a Difference” ( was heralded by Jeffrey Zeigler of the Kronos Quartet as "Hands down, the most valuable resource available for aspiring musicians."

A multi-dimensional composer who listens voraciously to a colossal range of musical styles, his eclectic output reflects this musical world, with a vocabulary ranging from beautiful lyricism to unusual sounds, dissonant clashes, and bizarre juxtapositions. Cutler’s compositions have been commissioned and performed by artists such as the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Classical Orchestra of Milan, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Korean Chamber Ensemble, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Boston Brass, Airmen of Note Air Force Big Band, singer Nancy Wilson, trumpeter Sean Jones, clarinetist David Krakauer, the piano duo Anderson & Roe and saxophonist Benny Golson. Recent composition accolades include the Sammy Nestico Award, the Millennium Arts Society's International Competition for Composers and awards from Friends and Enemies of New Music, the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and ASCAP. He served residencies at the Asian Pacific Performance Exchange (Los Angeles, Calif.), working closely with American and Asian musicians, dancers, theatre artists and puppeteers; Visby International Centre for Composition (Gotland, Sweden); and Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Bogota Colombia).

Cutler’s style of jazz piano playing is as wide ranging as his compositions, spanning from stride and bebop to elements far beyond the traditional jazz vernacular. His classical performance focuses on music by contemporary and American composers. As a frequent performer with artists like Boston Brass, New Century Saxophone Quartet, horn player Jeff Nelsen, and North Indian kathak dancer Cynthia Ling Lee, he stretches the definition of what it means to be a musical collaborator: interacting with the audience, incorporating choreography, and playing secondary instruments.

Cutler is known for organizing concert productions that marry outstanding performance with the unexpected (whether greeting patrons with costumed performers or ushering them out with a marching band). Many of his shows have interfaced diverse musical expressions with dance, film, actors, stage design and visual artists.

Cutler studied at the University of Miami (BM), Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, Austria, Eastman School of Music (MM), and Indiana University (DM). Following 11 years of teaching at Duquesne University, he is excited to join the faculty at the University of South Carolina as the Director of Music Entrepreneurship.


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.