Composer, Pianist, Educator

David Önaç

MA(Cantab), MPhil, MMus, LRSM, PhD


David A T Önaç is a versatile composer, pianist, musical director and educator based in Manchester, UK. His main specialisms are concert music, jazz and gospel.

Please see below for summaries of David’s expertise and experience in different musical fields, or use the links at the top of the page to navigate quickly to more detailed pages.


Award-winning composer of notation-based concert music

  • Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize, winner 2012.
  • BBC Young Composer of the Year, runner-up 2000.

Accomplished, virtuosic pianist of diverse concert repertoire

  • Piano soloist in concertos by Gershwin, Grieg, Rachmaninov and Schumann.
  • Dedicated piano tutor – LRSM in piano performance, distinction, 2009.

Experienced Jazz & Gospel composer, arranger, director and practitioner

  • Voices Beyond’s 2022 single ‘Freedom’:
  • MJF ‘Hothouse’ artist development scheme 2018.
  • BBC Songs of Praise, finalists, 2016.
  • UGCY, winners, 2012, 2013, 2018.

Highly qualified educator of diverse age ranges

  • PhD in Composition, University of Manchester 2013.
  • Teaching Fellow in Music, University of Birmingham 2013-17.
  • Academic Tutor in Composition, Arrangement & Jazz, JRNCM 2018-present.


David's patience and teaching approach is absolutely outstanding. He ensures that all students understand before moving on to the next topic even if this means repeating himself in several different ways. His knowledge and passion of the subject is clear to see and his enthusiasm is infectious. You never feel nervous asking a question in his seminar and know that you will be supported through any difficult topics that arise…”

— Module Evaluation Questionnaire, Student Feedback, Tonal Harmony & Counterpoint

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— Dave Blue

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— Tiontay Carroll