Dan and Melissa David: A Messianic Musical Match
I was born Dan David Aronovich in the Ukraine on December 28, 1977, but I go by Dan David. I have a younger brother, Ron, who is now a surgeon. My family moved to Israel when I was a year and a half. We were not religious Jews, but we celebrated the holidays and the culture, and I was bar mitzvah.
I always believed in God. I felt like he is someone we can hear from personally. When I was seven, he spoke to me in a dream. It was very real and kind of scary. My father and I had a great relationship, but this dream showed me that I would be in conflict with my dad when I became a teenager. And that’s exactly what happened.
We moved to Montreal when I was eleven. I was very comfortable with the move and made lots of friends. But for my father, Joseph, moving to Canada from Israel was difficult. He had been a manager of a large bank in Tel Aviv, and in Canada he had to work as a pizza delivery person. And he became overly stressed, and I wasn’t able to handle his stress.
My mother is a professional piano teacher, but I wanted to try something else. The moment I picked up the violin at age seven, I was in love with it. I started taking lessons every week until I got a four-year scholarship to the McGill violin performance program, which I completed concurrently with high school.
I enrolled at York University in Toronto. During that first year at York I started writing music on my own, between school assignments. I also started reading the Hebrew Scriptures because the way the melodies and lyrics were coming together, I felt like there was a higher power composing my songs. I had read the Scriptures as a boy, and was only now returning to them.
Somebody on campus gave me a New Testament. I started to read it, but didn’t get too far. It didn’t resonate with me. Besides, my family members, friends and rabbis had all told me that Jesus was not for us Jews.
I dropped out of York because I knew already I had a calling in music, and I reasoned that a Bachelor of Arts wouldn’t further my goals. I developed a passion for teaching the violin. I turned that into a full-time business. I taught all ages, from four to sixty.
During this time, I had occasional visions that Y’shua (Jesus) was the Jewish Messiah. I didn’t know how to process these visions, but I couldn’t ignore them either.
Then I played a concert in Toronto with the Iranian singer, Googoosh, in front of 13,000 people. We were on stage with some great musicians, including the flute player Pedro Eustache. He openly shared with us about Y’shua during rehearsals. He really got me thinking.
About six months later, in November 2000, I was driving to my parents’ house. A voice “spoke” to me and I knew it was Y’shua, saying, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” I later realized it was his words from the New Testament in John 14:6. When I heard that voice it became clear to me that he is the only way, and I gave my heart to him at that moment.
I had a lot of pressures to deal with, including living on my own for the first time and having to run the teaching practice. But the Lord put a peace in my soul and showed me how to cope.
He also helped me deal with stress from family members. They were displeased on two counts: one, they were not wild about my new faith, and two, they didn’t think a songwriter could make it. They wanted me to either be in an orchestra or have a different profession.
I was attending a church north of Toronto, and at first I really felt like I had given up on my Jewishness. Then I came to know that there are Jewish believers in Jesus. I embraced my Jewish roots again. My wife, Melissa, and I now attend Melech Yisrael, a Messianic synagogue in Toronto.
My maiden name is Melissa Dittrich. Although my mother comes from a Jewish background, I grew up in a Christian home, and I’ve believed in Jesus since I was ten years old. I began playing piano at age five and writing some simple songs soon after that. I continued my musical studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music for twelve years. But even as a child, I was drawn to Messianic music, Jewish music about Y’shua. After completing my Bachelor of Arts in Music Theory, History and Composition at the University of Lethbridge in 2002, I started composing Messianic music. I also went deeper into the Hebrew Scriptures, just because most of my Christian life had been spent in the New Testament. I found such incredible depth in the Tenach.
The music that God typically writes through me is very Hebraic in style, and there’s something about the violins and cellos that seem to express that music very well. In 2010, I happened to read a full-length feature article about Dan David. There was something about his story and his vision for his music that really resonated with me. I contacted him to see if he wanted to collaborate on Sojourn, the album I was planning.
He expressed an interest, so I flew him out to Alberta on October 25 to do five tracks in two recording sessions. Neither of us had any idea that there would be the personal chemistry there, but from the moment that I picked him up at the airport in Calgary, it seemed apparent to us that God was doing something besides just a business partnership!
When I met Melissa, I knew she was the one the Lord had prepared for me. We were married on May 14, 2011, and we have worked together ever since. We do concerts all across the United States and Canada. Our styles work together because Melissa’s music is mainly Messianic, and adding the violin to that is really what I’m passionate about. My own style of music has been a bit more rock and Celtic, but that works well for us.
Our styles gel because both Dan and I are very flexible. I’ve played in numerous contexts, from classical to more praise and worship style, to pop-type music. So when Dan needs me to play in a certain style, I adapt to that, and vice versa. It fits together very well.
This content was adapted from an earlier Jews for Jesus article.