David Scott passes away after auto accident [Updated]

The music students and faculty at California State University at Northridge received a blow this weekend, as Dr. David W. Scott, their beloved and renowned teacher and opera director, died of injuries caused by a car accident that took place on July 29.  Although a memorial service is planned, no date has yet been set.

Scott was Professor of Music Emeritus, having directed more than 125 productions at the respected institution and around the country.  Teacher and mentor to thousands of talented students during his long career, many of his students have reached national and even international acclaim, and his impact on the community at large is immeasurable.

More details and a more complete profile will be made available here, as soon as possible.  Our sincere condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and students as they mourn this great loss.  Please feel free to comment below and share the effect that Dr. Scott had on your lives.


Service for David Scott

Saturday, August 11

Northridge United Methodist Church
9650 Reseda Blvd.
Northridge, CA 91324

Dr. David Sannerud has granted us permission to reprint his remembrance and Dr. Scott’s bio here:

All at CSUN are sad to learn of the passing of our friend and colleague Dr. David Scott.  Dr. Scott has touched the musical lives of so many throughout the world, he has contributed greatly to voice and opera and will be missed.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Judy Scott, and his family.

Professor of Music Emeritus, David W. Scott received his Master of Music and Doctoral degrees from Indiana University where he performed 15 baritone roles in opera and studied voice with Frank St. Leger, Anna Kaskas and Paul Matthen.

At CSUN, Dr. Scott conducted and staged more than 125 major opera productions, many of which were acclaimed by local and regional critics.  The Opera Theatre, under his direction, was selected to perform before the national convention of the National Opera Association and also participated in an operatic exchange program with the Shanghai and Beijing Opera theatres.  Dr. Scott was also active as a professional director and producer and has sent several groups on tour for Columbia Artists Incorporated throughout the Western United States.  He recently directed Le Nozze di Figaro for Orlando Opera.

As a voice teacher, his students have been selected as winners in auditions at the regional and national level — including the Metropolitan Opera Auditions.  Many of his students have sung with numerous regional, national and international opera companies, including the Metropolitan Opera Co., Paris Opera, Royal Opera at Covent Garden and La Scala.  Dr. Scott was recently named Outstanding Professor at CSUN and was selected in 1985 and 1987 to receive the Meritorious Performance and Professional Promise Awards from the University.  From 1987 to 1998 he directed the opera program for the CSU Summer Arts, sponsored by the Chancellor’s Office.


11 thoughts on “David Scott passes away after auto accident [Updated]”

  1. I was an Elementary Education major at CSUN in the late 1970’s but my love of of singing and acting had me auditioning for any and all Drama and Music Department productions. I was lucky enough to have Dr. Scott cast me in secondary roles in FAUST, THE MERRY WIDOW & LA PERICHOLE. After one rehearsal he told me that although I wasn’t an “opera” talent — he felt I could work in musical theatre. Since CSUN offered no Musical Theatre Workshop, he recommended that I take UCLA’s Musical Theatre Workshop headed by Allan Gilbert. I was aware of UCLA’s class but I told him that I couldn’t pay the steep tuition and I didn’t have the proper CSUN Drama Department credits. Dr. Scott told me to simply show up at the next workshop and tell Mr. Gilbert that “Dr. Scott sent me.” That’s all it took for me to attend the UCLA workshop, pro-bono, no questions asked. In 1979 I joined the Actors Equity Association and have worked in entertainment ever since — I consider Dr. Scott to be part of the reason. I’m forever indebted to Dr. Scott.

  2. Thank you for this, and for keeping the updates. I wonder if you could also pass it on to ArtsJournal? I sent it to Douglas McLennan, but it may help to also have it from you. Best wishes, Robert Swedberg (director of Opera Studio at University of Michigan, and Scott student at Cal State Northridge.)

    • We’ve submitted the link to quite a few sites — thanks for the suggestion of the ArtsJournal. If someone who was able to go to the memorial would like to send us an update, I’d be happy to post it and renew the link for those we’ve notified. Thanks, all, for your help in keeping the community informed. Dr. Scott has left a rich legacy and touched so many lives — he left a big dent. LDG

  3. Sent on behalf of:

    Dr. William A. Emboden, Ph. D, F.L S.
    Professor Emeritus, Biology

    Professor David Scott was truly a colleague in that he knew most of us
    who were in areas of CSUN other than the music department.

    We all went to see his high calibre opera productions that resulted in
    his students taking prestigious positions in opera companies throughout
    the world, including the MET.

    I was privileged to watch him as a conductor and a vocal coach. I reveled
    in his sumptuous productions. He was never afraid to be daring. When
    the MET’s [Antony and Cleopatra] suffered a disaster (the pyramid did
    not open), our Barber’s Cleopatra was a splendid production, visually
    and vocally.

    I will miss him as a friend and colleague at CSUN. He was, and still is,
    a great figure in so very many of our lives.

    My condolences to his family, who must know that this was a monumental

  4. I was very saddened to hear of Dr. Scott’s passing but he made an enormous contribution to many student’s lives. I remember fondly the many hours of rehearsals and coachings.

  5. It was my good fortune to study with Dr.Scott for the better part of ten years, on and off. He was always generous with his time and insights and as I continued with my career teaching, singing, and conducting I learned more and more how accurate he was in his advice to me about the use of my voice and about singing in general. I know that he will be missed by his family and students. I was saddened to learn of his passing.

  6. So sorry to hear of this tragic loss to the music world. Under Dr. Scott’s direction, I sang Frasquita in a production of Carmen at CSUN as well as the First Lady in the Magic Flute. I was also quite active in Opera Workshop each semester.

    He was a wonderful director and voice instructor. He will be greatly missed.

  7. Dr. Scott was always so kind to me even as a lowly tenor in the chorus from 1968 (A Masked Ball) to around 1972 (Falstaff) in which he had the lead. Even, in the finali, when someone accidentally poked him, “Picolla, picolla,” he could laugh, later. I shall always remember him in the pit and cherish his smiles when we tenors actually did it right. He gave me memories and music I shall always cherish.

  8. Here it is, many years later, and I happened upon this article by accident.
    I’m Noelle McGrath, a character actress and singer living in Brooklyn, NY.
    As a teenager I performed in Dr. Scott’s CSUN productions of FAUST, BRIGADOON, SHOWBOAT, and THE SOUND OF MUSIC.
    They were unforgettable, marvelous productions, and Dr. Scott was the reason.
    A bigger than life personality, and talent.
    May he rest in peace.

    • Thanks so much, Noelle. This is exactly why we allow comments long after a post is up: thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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