Scott Dunn – biography

American conductor Scott Dunn is also a pianist and noted arranger-orchestrator. Recent engagements have featured him leading performances with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra and Singers, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Royal Philhamonic, Seattle Symphony, Sydney Symphony Orchestra , Vienna Radio Orchestra (RSO) and may other distinguished ensembles – as well as premieres of new his 2019 arrangement of Duke Ellington’s New World A-Comin’  for solo piano and small jazz orchestra and Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park with UCLA Opera.

Mr. Dunn has led a number of live orchestral performances of film scores, including Fantasia, Star Trek Beyond, Ratatouille, Danny Elfman’s Music from the films of Tim Burton (with additional orchestrations by Dunn) and Rebel Without A Cause also  (the score of which he arranged for live performance and led the premiere with the Los Angeles Philharmonic). Other recent projects include 2018 London recording of Sugar Plum on the Run  (a new narrated holiday piece by Lior Rosner) with the Royal Philharmonic and Michael Keaton; and Scott Dunn conducts Richard Rodney Bennett/Total Immersion (with arrangements by Dunn) with singer Claire Martin, the BBC Concert Orchestra and Singers in a live BBC 3 broadcast from the Barbican. He has worked with any number of star headliners, including Trey Anastasio, Beck, Natalie Cole, Elvis Costello, Sutton Foster, Steve Martin, Leslie Odom Jr., Wynonna and many others and has made multiple recent appearances as pianist playing works of Richard Rodney Bennett, Lukas Foss, Julius Eastman, Vernon Duke and George Gershwin.

Scott Dunn is a passionate promoter of American and contemporary music, including film scores and cross-over composers – ranging from George Gershwin and Vernon Duke to Leonard Rosenman and Danny Elfman. His advocacy for scores outside the classical canon can be traced to his long friendship with the late Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, who served as Mr. Dunn’s mentor. Through Bennett, he discovered the work of composer Vernon Duke (a.k.a. Vladimir Dukelsky) and subsequently orchestrated and premiered Duke’s ‘lost’ Piano Concerto in C at Carnegie Hall and recorded in Moscow for Naxos. He also edited the Vernon Duke Songbook for Hal Leonard and has recorded numerous Duke compositions including his cello concerto, violin concerto and complete works for violin with Elmira Darvarova. In 2013 he reconstructed Duke’s End of St Petersburg oratorio and led performances of it and several other large Duke concert works at the Philharmonia in St. Petersburg Russia. In 2016 he conducted the cast recording of a ‘new’ Duke musical titled Misia. Based on the life of Parisian muse and Sergei Diaghilev confidant Misia Sert, it is set to music by Duke, arranged and adapted by Dunn, with orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick and book and lyrics by Barry Singer.

Born and raised in Iowa, he made his Carnegie Hall debut as a pianist in 1999. He is a former assistant to Lukas Foss and student of Byron Janis. Although he does not practice medicine, Mr. Dunn holds a medical degree and board certification in eye surgery. Mr. Dunn has served as associate conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Hollywood Bowl Orchestra since 2012.