David Laviska

Contributing Writer

David LaviskaDavid was born in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, where he began developing his love of music from an early age.  A piano student from the age of five, he began singing in choir at seven, and at eleven, embarked on his journey as an orchestral musician by taking up the oboe.  By the time he graduated from high school, he was principal oboist for several semi-professional orchestras.

He continued his musical education at Cornell University, where he minored in music while completing a B.A. in chemistry.  His performance resume broadly diversified while he served as principal oboist for the Cornell University Symphony Orchestra, participated in various chamber ensembles, and played in pit orchestras for staged productions of music theater, opera, and oratorio.

David’s passion for opera was ignited in 1989 by two key performances, both based on historical events.  Hearing a recording of Maria Callas in her famous portrayal of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena at La Scala catalyzed a life-long fascination with the three geniuses of Italian bel canto: Bellini, Donizetti, and Rossini.  Then, hearing a radio broadcast of John Adams’ Nixon in China piqued an interest in the development and history of the operatic art form itself.

After receiving his M.S. in chemistry from the University of Washington in 1991, he continued to cultivate his passion for opera during his 15 years as an environmental scientist through regular attendance at the Metropolitan Opera and amassing a substantial library of books and recordings.  He has been writing about opera in print and online since 2000, and completed his Ph.D. in chemistry at Rutgers University in 2013.

David enjoys sharing his passion for science as much as he does his love of opera.  He is the creator and director of the LEEDAR program: an innovative curriculum for mentoring high school students and encouraging them to pursue advanced education and careers in science.

When not in the lab or enjoying opera, he pursues his other passion: distance running.  A five-time marathoner (personal record: 3:38), he typically logs about 75 miles a month on the roads and trails of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

David currently lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with his two Labrador retrievers, Wally and Wilma.