While still a teenager, David Horne established his name both as a pianist - making his BBC Proms concerto debut in 1990 - and as a composer, with a prize-winning work at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. His composition studies took him to the USA, first at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and then at Harvard University; he has since returned to the UK and is based in Manchester.

Horne's music has attracted leading virtuoso performers on both sides of the Atlantic, including violist Nobuko Imai (Stilled Voices), percussionist Evelyn Glennie (Reaching Out and Ignition) and pianist Boris Berezovsky (Liszt). His ensemble scores including Out of the Air and Concerto for Six Players have been performed internationally by the London Sinfonietta, the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, the California EAR Unit, the Ensemble für neue Musik Zürich, the Tokyo Sinfonietta and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. His chamber works include four string quartets, composed for the Mendelssohn, Yggdrasil and Brentano Quartets.

His large-scale output includes a Piano Concerto premiered in 1993, two chamber operas Jason Field and Travellers, the music theatre work Beyond the Blue Horizon, and the full-length opera Friend of the People, premiered by Scottish Opera in 1999. As Composer in Association with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (2000-04) he created a series of orchestral and ensemble works, including The Year's Midnight for soloists, chorus and orchestra, the percussion concerto, Ignition, premiered by Evelyn Glennie, and a Concerto for Orchestra.

Recent works have included Disintegrations - arrangements of electronica music by Warp artists, premiered by the London Sinfonietta at the Ether Festival in London in 2003 and toured internationally. In 2007 the Nash Ensemble 2007 premiered the DH Lawrence song-cycle Life's Splinters with tenor James Gilchrist, and in the same year the BBC Symphony Orchestra presented a Horne focus concert. The Remix Ensemble premiered Restless Feeling in 2008 at the Casa da Música in Porto and toured the work to the Berlin Festival and Musica in Strasbourg.