David Heckendorn


Music Education
3 Aspects For 10 Prospects - commissioned by The Midwest Clinic for performance by a Woodwind Quintet and String Quintet within the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra at the December 2005 Concert program.


"Thanksgiving, hope, and meandering as contemplative concepts of the human condition are depicted musically in this brief three movement composition.  Composed for a woodwind quintet and string quintet of young talented musicians who  are 'prospects', so to speak, in the field of music.  Each movement differs in style and tempo and explores various tonalities, modalities, counterpoint and jazz.  There is a lightheartedness about the work which should translate into comfortable performance tempos and the natural joy of musical expression.

It is my hope that both player and audience will walk away from a performance of this piece with a feeling similar to that of having just witnessed three vignettes within a play or having read three short stories.  Each story containing a cryptic idea which can become food for thought and deeper reflection at a later time."  David Heckendorn

Children's Everglades Symphony

In February 1999 I conducted the "Symphony of the Americas" in the premiere performance of my "Children's Everglades Symphony" (Visions for the New Millennium) at the Broward Arts Center in Florida in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the "Big Cypress National Preserve".  This composition and residency was commissioned by "The Young Citizen's Conservation Corps" and the "Symphony of the Americas" to better educate the children of Florida of the need to protect the Florida Everglades.

Rivers - a musical tribute to Langston Hughes

On Saturday, February 1, 2003 David Heckendorn, together with an ensemble of four musicians and two actors, performed “Rivers”. New York Grammy fest 2003 in conjunction with the Queens Borough Public Library commissioned Mr. Heckendorn to compose a musical presentation inspired by eight Langston Hughes poems. The orchestral version of this composition had received its world premiere in 1996.  Performances of this work have been conducted at area public schools with great success:  “On April 8th, David Heckendorn, accompanied by three professional musicians and two professional actors, performed a tone poem entitled ‘Rivers’ for the Core and AP Core classes of the Wheatley School. Marty Winik, an 11th grader in the audience, commented, ‘Mr. Heckendorn’s performance of "Rivers’ helped me to understand the atmosphere of the Harlem Renaissance and the 1920s’.

After the performance, Wheatley students and faculty asked questions about the tone poem and its organization. Tanesha Gary, one of the vocalists, described David Heckendorn as a ‘creative genius’.      David Gorski, The Wheatley Wildcat

The Butterfly And The Moth

My daughter, Elizabeth Erin, is a dancer and instructor of Ballet having been a member of the faculty of the Hudson Valley Conservatory since 2000.  In 2003, I collaborated with her on a piece of music and poetry I had written to create a one act Ballet.

Rick Simon, the principal of the Wheatley School in Old Westbury, NY gave us the opportunity to produce this dance piece with student musicians and dancers as part of an end of the year concert of music.

The story is portrayed through dance while the narrator reads the poetry.  It is the age-old battle between external beauty vs internal beauty; the challenges to friendship in the atmosphere of prejudice and betrayal; and the power of truth and justice put to the test of adolescent bravado.

Why Not! - The Musical

3 Samples Below: Why Not, Let It Happen, 4th of July


I retired from the Wheatley School in Old Westbury, NY in June 2006 after having been a public high school music teacher in New York State for 30 years. One of the responsibilities of my position was to conduct the yearly musical.  This experience gave me the knowledge, understanding, and confidence to, once again, try my hand at play writing with a one act fond farewell to Wheatley performed by students of the theatre and music departments and a number of colleagues. "Why Not! - was given its only performance on Friday June 20, 2006 as part of a "Farewell To Heck" concert at the school that also featured my professional Jazz Tentet.
Graffiti - The Musical

3 Samples Below:  Graffiti, The Dreamer, Mr. Mirror


I worked at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY from 1979 - 1982. In that time I functioned as the residence director of Sheahan Dormitory, taught classes in Music Theory, Music Appreciation, and Chorus, encouraged a pep band to show up to basketball games, and conducted the school show band for it's production of "Cabaret".

I also organized a student rock group (Mr. Mirror) for which I wrote several songs that we performed on and off campus and recorded. From those 9 songs came the idea for a musical theatre piece which I called "Graffiti".  This two act play was staged for 4 performances in November 1981 to an enthusiastic audience of well-wishers.  It was my first attempt writing dialogue and formulating plot and action.  The music was, no doubt, the strongest component of the experience.
 A Feature Article about David Heckendorn