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Northwestern School of Communication

David Chavannes

Assistant Professor of Instruction
David is a creative educator bridging project management and instructional design. His work employs storytelling and sound performance to contend with themes of belonging, memory, and coloniality.

Area(s) of Expertise

Caribbean Studies, Collaborative Piano, Oral Histories, Project Management
David Chavannes

David leverages expertise in collaborative piano, music theory, historical research, instructional design, and project management to prepare students for collaborative, results-oriented work environments.

His dissertation won a grant from the Sachs Program for Arts Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania for its integration of storytelling, performance, and historical research. He studied and performed Western classical music for over ten years as a pianist and vocal coach. Before joining NU in 2021, he taught US history at the high school level.

David is also the Music Theatre Piano Coordinator in the Theatre Department. In this role, he helps to ensure the quality and educational value of music theatre activities by overseeing the hiring, scheduling, monitoring, and mentoring of music theatre pianists. He also supports the creative expression of local artists and arts organizations by serving on the Evanston Arts Council.

David aspires to become a leader in higher education by applying project management principles to his teaching and service, increasing operational efficiency in his departments, and fostering an organizational culture of continuous improvement.


  • 2021: PhD in Africana Studies and Ethnomusicology, University of Pennsylvania
  • 2016: Master of Music in Collaborative Piano, University of Maryland
  • 2012: Master of Music in Choral Conducting and Piano Performance, University of Kansas
  • 2010: Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance, Atlantic Union College 


  • RTVF 398: Resonant Histories
  • SAI 400: Oral History for Sound Artists
  • SAI 401: Seminar in Sound Production
  • THEATRE 256: Musicianship for Actors
  • THEATRE 350: Collaborative Voice and Piano
  • THEATRE 355: Elements of Song