David Stanton, 63, of Hawthorne, passed on Friday, August 19th, 2016, in his home surrounded by family and friends. His death was caused by a rare form of melanoma. Born October 13, 1952 at St Joseph’s Hospital in Santa Monica, CA to Thomas James Stanton and Phyllis Adeline Stanton. He grew up in Manhattan Beach with siblings Patricia (Tish) Stanton-Miller and James (Jim) H Stanton. He began playing clarinet in middle school and fell in love with the instrument. He attended Mira Costa High School. He went on to study music as an undergraduate at USC and then moved to New York to get his Master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music. He had a story book career in music and was an extraordinary teacher. After 15 years in New York working as a musician he returned to California and began his new career in the Teach for America program and was assigned to an elementary school in Compton. He then became a literary specialist and spent his last years in Compton educating teachers on literacy. He was offered an early retirement bonus and decided he had been in public schools long enough. He played first clarinet for 11 years before stepping up to conduct and direct the Palos Verdes Symphonic Band. After retirement he realized he was not done teaching and began teaching at AMUSE and as a music specialist for Palos Verdes Schools. He was a long time member of the Self-Realization Fellowship. He was unconditionally loved by his family, friends, students and colleagues. He will be missed. Grave-side service: Saturday, August 27th, 2pm at Green Hills Memorial Park in Palos Verdes. Celebration of life to follow.
In addition to being an educator & conductor David is a very good woodwind player. He is currently a member of the Hollywood Clarinet Quarter and we have just finished recording a new piece “Clarinet Quarter Noises” by Gordon Goodwin with David as the lead clarinet.
David Stanton received a Bachelor in Music Performance from USC, where he studied clarinet with Mitchell Lurie and wind orchestra conducting with William Schaefer. Upon graduation, he moved to New York, attending the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied clarinet with Leon Russianoff and conducting with Anton Coppola. He was awarded the Andrew J. Goodman prize for best clarinetist along with his Masters Degree in Clarinet.
Dave was praised by John Rockwell of the New York Times for “first-rate performances” and appeared in recitals at Lincoln Center, symphonic performances at Carnegie Hall, live radio broadcasts and Broadway Theaters. Performing under such renowned conductors as Zubin Mehta, Edo de Waart, James Levine and Julius Rudel, Dave has accompanied such artists as Frederika von Stade, Kathleen Battle and Ransom Wilson. In addition to extensive tours throughout the United States, Dave performed in Europe and portions of Asia. He was also active as a teacher at several colleges, including Concordia College, Long Island University and Princeton University.
Upon returning to the Los Angeles area, Dave was a middle school band and chorus director, recently retiring from this position. He was a woodwind specialist with the Palos Verdes Peninsula School District from 2011-2015 and continues to teach woodwinds at Amuse Music in Palos Verdes. He performs regularly with many local groups, including the official band of Manhattan Beach, the Hyperion Outfall Serenaders, the Jimmy McConnell Jazz Orchestra, the Cherry Willow Jazz Band, the Hollywood Clarinet Quartet, the Peninsulans Jazz Orchestra, and the Huntington Beach Symphony. He has made frequent appearances as a soloist with the Palos Verdes Symphonic Band on both clarinet and tenor saxophone and has been the Music Director of the Palos Verdes Symphonic Band since 2011.