David Warrack was born in Calgary, and first performed on radio when he was five. It’s pretty much been non-stop since then. He has a commanding presence in every facet of the arts/entertainment industry.
David has a varied career as a Composer, Conductor, Pianist, Vocalist, Lyricist, Librettist, Arranger, Orchestrator, Music Director, Director, Satirist, Comedian, Actor, Poet, Producer, Impresario, Bon Vivant, and Hockey Coach – he has truly done it all! And judging by his project board, “he’s only just begun”.
As a writer he has had 66 shows produced professionally and he has been Musical Director for over two hundred productions across North America, including Shenandoah starring John Cullum on Broadway.
He won a Dora Mavor Moore Award in Toronto for his production of Toronto, Toronto, and for outstanding Music Direction on the production of Closer Than Ever.
AFM (Local 149); Canadian Actors Equity Association; ACTRA; Dramatists Guild; Playwrights Union of Canada; SOCAN
“Most impressive … Mr. Warrack is a major talent who is welcome in our town.” (Barnes, New York Times) …”Masterful Music Direction!”
(Chapman, Toronto Star)
As Conductor and Musical Director, David has worked with orchestras and bands across North America. He toured for years with the legendary Maureen Forrester, and they released a CD of songs he wrote for her entitled “Interpretations of a Life”. As Music Director for well over 250 musicals, including the Canadian tour of Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well, Closer Than Ever (for which he won a Dora, the Canadian equivalent of the Tony), the first Canadian production of A Chorus Line, Shenandoah on Broadway with John Cullum, and nine seasons of Ross Petty’s Christmas pantomimes at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto, Mr. Warrack is constantly in demand. Highlights include a gala tribute to Oscar Hammerstein with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, conducting the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa for a set of concerts featuring Natalie McMaster and the Men of the Deeps, conducting the Kitchener/Waterloo Symphony in a three-concert Latin extravaganza featuring an entirely new program which he orchestrated specifically for this magnificent ensemble, music directing a jazz extravaganza at the brand new concert facility Koerner Hall in Toronto, and music directing the performance of Dave Brubeck’s LIGHT IN THE WILDERNESS with the celebrated Elora Singers in Guelph. This past summer (2012), he was Music Director for the Salute to Musical Theatre at the Elora Festival. He is the founding Conductor of the 60-piece Canada Pops Orchestra, which CBC Radio’s Andy Barrie commended as “the first orchestra I have ever heard which could present everything from the classical repertoire right through to jazz with equal joy and mastery!”. The Canada Pops has performed at Massey Hall, the Hummingbird Centre (now the Sony Centre), the Toronto Centre For The Arts, the CNE Grandstand, and Nathan Phillips Square as part of Toronto’s Downtown Jazz Festival. In addition, he was recently appointed artistic director/conductor of the Rose Orchestra, a new symphony whose home is the magnificent Rose Theatre in Brampton, Ontario. He is also the Organist/Music Director for Hillcrest Christian Church. His choir participated in the multi-faith presentation of SACRED SERVICE by Ernest Bloc at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, where the combined choirs featured 150 voices.
“Brilliant – only once have I heard his equal and that was the American Legend Roger Kellaway.” (Currie, Orangeville Record) … “…internationally recognized pianist and comedian.” (Hill, Guelph Mercury)…”…dramatic rendition of “Rhapsody in Blue. Warrack’s effortless embellishments and massive rush of thick chords gave way to a dynamic performance!”
(Merpaw, Brockville Review)
David has performed in clubs, concert halls, and theatres, as well as on television, radio, recordings and films. He was featured in a tribute to Duke Ellington at the Montreal Bistro; his two most recent appearances as a solo pianist were at Roy Thompson Hall and the Princess of Wales Theatre. His countless Television specials began with Global Television’s Peter Allen and David Warrack: Composer Meets Composer. Most recently, he did a Christmas Special for Vision Television in December, 2012. For years, he was a regular feature on Peter Gzowski’s Morningside (CBC Radio) singing his trademark satirical songs. As accompanist to the stars, he has worked with Len Cariou (most recently at the Stratford Summer Music Festival in 2011), Rebecca Caine (at the Elora Festival in the summer of 2011), Glynis Johns (film), and Mickey Rooney (stage). He continues to do concerts with a selection of major talents, including Thom Allison (recently starring in RAGTIME at the Shaw Festival), Elizabeth Beeler (reigning operetta diva), Michael Burgess (Jean Valjean in LES MIZ), Susan Cuthbert (everything from playing Anne of Green Gables to Christine in PHANTOM), Don Harron (the funniest man on the planet), Jeff Hyslop (Broadway singer/actor/dancer), Louise Pitre (the original Broadway star of MAMA MIA), gospel diva Jackie Richardson, and Nancy White (the funniest woman on the planet). He recently appeared at the beautiful new Burlington Performing Arts Centre with the astonishing Sheila Brand, and in January through May of 2013, he toured across Canada with Rebecca Caine and Michael Burgess.
“Warrack’s orchestral arrangements … are clean, inventive, and extremely clever.”
(Pederson, Halifax Mail-Star)
As arranger and orchestrator, David has a demanding schedule. Virtually all of the orchestrations for the Canada Pops Orchestra are David’s. For the nine years that he was Musical Director for Ross Petty’s madcap pantomimes, David also did the arrangements and orchestrations. His first major assignment was for the CBC Radio special of the musical Ballade, and he is currently scoring a CD for the Canada Pops Jazz Band featuring his own jazz songs.
(Mallet, Toronto Star)
David has produced plays, musicals and variety shows for theatre and television as a complement to his artistic achievements. Warrack Productions has mounted shows performed across Canada and the U.S.A. The television superspecial All For One (CBC Television) was an instant classic. David produced three of the Dora Mavor Moore Award Shows, the only three televised to date. At one point he had six shows running in Toronto simultaneously. His legendary production of TORONTO TORONTO garnered him his first Dora Mavor Moore Award as a producer, followed quickly by ON TAP. He presented Ronnie Hawkins at Massey Hall in his triumphant “I’m Back!” concert.
He produced his own musical ROB ROY, a huge hit at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and recorded a CD for that project the following year which continues to sell extremely well in New York and London. He has been musical consultant and/or arranger and/or composer and/or studio producer for various films, television specials, and CDs.
“David Warrack is a man of astonishing versatility ... a human rainbow of theatrical aptitudes. Warrack, like Noel Coward and Cole Porter, is gifted with the ability to write lyrics of the same high quality as his music. The result is song after song in which the beguiling melody and infectious rhythm carry meters and rhymes of brilliant linkage and comical complexity.”
(Porter, Toronto Sun)
David has an extensive catalogue of compositions including orchestral music, choral pieces, chamber works, and a Mass for choir, soloists, and organ. However, he is best recognized for his huge volume of work for the theatre. He has written or collaborated on over seventy professionally-produced musicals or revues over the past thirty-five years, including some of the longest-running shows in Canadian theatre history. Cast recordings include Oops! Tut Tut, Drummer, Torontosaurus, Hansel and Gretel, Goldilocks, and A Kidsmas Carol, with individual songs from various shows featured on a multitude of recordings. Long-running shows include Tease For Two, Flicks, Sweet Reason and Vaudevillians. His musical She’s No Lady is currently in pre-production as an animated film. Catwalk was showcased as part of Toronto Fashion Week, followed by a showcase in New York. It has been optioned as a film with the participation of Telefilm. He was commissioned by the Showcase Festival (Vancouver Island) to write a new musical based on the life of Ginger Goodwin. DANCING IN THE COAL DUST was workshopped in Vancouver, and then showcased at the Shaw Festival. EVA, on the Canadian-born Vaudeville star Eva Tanguay, was completed recently (with producer John McKellar at the helm, directed by Jim Warren). He is recording a CD initiated by and featuring jazz vocalist Stevie Vallance, with Dave Young on Bass, Perry White on sax/flute and Charlie Gray on trumpet/flugehorn, to be released in June of 2013, entitled THE THREE DAVIDS, which showcases the music of David Frishberg, David Shire, and David Warrack.
David Warrack lives in Toronto with his remarkably talented wife, pianist, composer and musical director Lona Davis (one of the two music directors for Disney Cruise Lines, and Music Director for the current Toronto production of CATS). He considers his three children – Gordon, Cayleigh, and Levi – to be the most important achievements of his life. Grandpa Dave is also very proud of his 4 grandchildren: Alexis, Grayson, Griffin and Neave.!
In the News
BARNES, NEW YORK TIMES
"Most impressive... Mr. Warrack is a major talent who is welcome in our town."
CURRIE, ORANGEVILLE RECORD
"Brilliant – only once have I heard his equal and that was the American Legend Roger Kelleway."
PEDERSON, HALIFAX MAIL-STAR
"Warrack’s orchestral arrangements... are clean, inventive and extremely clever."
CHAPMAN, TORONTO STAR
"Masterful music direction!"
HILL, GUELPH MERCURY
"... internationally recognized pianist and comedian."
WHITTAKER, GLOBE & MAIL
"Warrack produces songs that deserve an afterlife!"
PORTER, TORONTO SUN
"David Warrack is a man of astonishing versatility... a human rainbow of theatrical aptitudes."
"Warrack, like Noel Coward & Cole Porter, is gifted with the ability to write lyrics of the same high quality as his music. The result is song after song in which a beguiling melody and infectious rhythm carry meters and rhymes of brilliant linkage and comical complexity."
ANTHONY, TORONTO SUN
"Warrack’s music is too good, his talent too extravagant."
STEPHENSON, SCENE CHANGES
"Warrack’s “The Colours of Alberta” sounds as if Rodgers & Hammerstein might have written it in their “Oklahoma” era."