Apply Now MSA Visit

David Karp

Professor of Piano

David Karp, nationally known pianist, composer, educator, lecturer and author, holds degrees from the Manhattan School of Music and the University of Colorado with additional doctoral studies at Teachers College, Columbia University. He has performed, lectured and conducted workshops and seminars at many colleges and universities from Alaska to New Hampshire and as far away as Taiwan. During the past few summers, Dr. Karp has been teaching in Cepina, Italy in a program designed for gifted pianists, titled “Resonant Thoughts.”

A prolific composer, Karp’s compositions number over several hundred and are published by Alfred Publishing Co., Carl Fischer, Inc., FJH Music, Hal Leonard, Lee Roberts Music Publications and Shawnee Press. These compositions are performed in competitions, recitals and a variety of music venues all over the world, often listed as required repertoire for students. He has received numerous commissions from music teachers’ organizations and has been nominated by the Dallas Music Teachers Association for the Texas Music Teachers Composer of the Year award. Karp is an ASCAP composer. David and Renee Karp have co-authored seven books on Jewish and Hebrew music for piano students; these books are widely used by children and adults throughout the world.

In 1993, Dr. Karp was honored with the establishment of the David Karp Piano Festival, an annual event held at Kilgore College in Kilgore, Texas, in which students perform and are judged on Karp compositions.

Karp serves as Composition Chair for the National Guild of Piano Teachers Contest and is often a national and local adjudicator for composition competitions. He has served as a judge for several the National Cliburn Amateur Piano Competitions and is a sought-after master teacher and adjudicator throughout Texas.

His composition for voice, flute, cello and piano, entitled Homesick, premiered at the National Holocaust Symposium in Dallas, Texas and it was performed at the Museum of Art in El Paso, Texas. The Voices of Change New Music Ensemble honored Karp at its 2006 Spring Gala Benefit for his lifetime participation in and promotion of new music composition, teaching and performance, on May 7, 2006 at the Meadows Museum on the SMU campus. Karp was featured in a lecture-recital of Leonard Bernstein’s Piano Music at the 2011 National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy in Chicago, Ill., and the World Piano Conference in Novi Sad, Serbia in 2012. Recent performances include two collaborations with Voices of Change; a concert in January 2013 featuring David Ludwig’s Trio and an Outreach Concert featuring the Ludwig Trio and Karp’s Homesick. In March 2017, Karp was honored with a proclamation from Mayor Michael Barhorst of Sidney, Ohio, for his countless achievements and contributions to the piano teaching profession.

At Southern Methodist University, Karp teaches classes in performance, chamber music, improvisation, advanced class piano for piano majors, required piano classes for music majors and sight-reading classes for piano majors. He has served on the University Senate and was a member of the Nominating Committee for Honorary Doctorates. He has also served on the Division of Music Curriculum Committee and is faculty advisor for upper-division and graduate piano degrees. Karp recently chaired an Academic Program Evaluation Committee review of the chemistry program for the Provost’s Evaluation Committee and serves on the Meadows Promotion and Tenure Committee.

Karp is a participating member in the Texas Music Teachers Association, Dallas Music Teachers Association, Music Teachers National Association, ASCAP, Pi Kappa Lambda Honorary Society, and American College of Musicians – National Guild of Piano Teachers.

When not teaching, the Karp family enjoys spending time at their summer cottage in Maine.


Piano Performance, PIAN 3100 and 6100: Developing repertoire from the gamut of piano literature: Baroque to 21st century compositions

Chamber Ensemble: Coaching of duo-piano, duos, trios, quartets and quintets

Class Piano for Music Majors, PERB 1131, 1132. 2131, 2132: Required Piano to develop basic skills in keyboard musicianship: sight reading, transposing, score reading, harmonization and improvisation

Sight Reading for Pianists, PERB 1011, 1012

Graduate Seminar in Improvisation, PERB 6112

Advanced Class Piano for Piano Majors, PERB 1233 and 1234: Developing advanced keyboard skills in sight reading scores, transposing Schubert songs, improvising, harmonizing, figured bass. Includes traditional as well as contemporary styles (jazz, pop harmony, 12-tone)

Composition of Pedagogical Materials for Graduates: Writing for piano students using various criteria from the leading publishers of piano teaching material. This includes composing solos, duets and ensembles.

Areas of Study



Art History

Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship

Corporate Communication and Public Affairs

Creative Computation


Film and Media Arts



Featured Alumni

About the Division of Music

Undergraduate Studies

Graduate Studies

Classes (See Catalog)




Faculty and Staff

By Instrument/Discipline

Faculty Travel Request Form

Visiting Artist Request Form

Student Resources

Student Internships & Collaborations

Meadows Artist Bridge

Dallas Resources

Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence

SMU Meadows Licensed Music Rights

Workshops and Special Programs

Opportunities for Non-Music Majors