David Johnson Dalton was born and raised in Springville, Utah. His family owned land in the area and Dalton spent time pitching hay and threshing grain. When he was about 8 years old, Dalton received a violin for Christmas and began his study of music. During his adolescence, Dalton played with the BYU Symphony, where he acted as concertmaster.
When he was 20, Dalton served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Germany. His mission president, Kenneth B. Dyer, knew of Dalton's musical talent and arranged for Dalton to play with the 12th Army Air Force throughout Europe in addition to his proselyting duties.
Following his mission in Germany, Dalton attended the Vienna Academy of Music for a semester. He then returned to the States and began studying at the Eastman School of Music, where he received a bachelor's degree in 1957 and a master's degree in 1961. It was while studying at Eastman that Dalton first began his study of the viola under Francis Tursi. Later William Primrose came to Eastman and became a lifelong mentor and teacher for Dalton.
Dalton later returned to Indiana University where he received a DMA in 1970.
While at Eastman, Dalton played violin in the Eastman Symphony and the Eastman Philharmonia. He also played the viola in the Rochester Philharmonic.
Following his graduation from Eastman, Dalton accepted a teaching position at Southwestern College in Kansas. He taught there one year before joining the School of Music faculty at BYU in 1963. At BYU he taught courses in viola and pedagogy.
In 1966 Dalton moved to the South where he joined the Mobile (Alabama) symphony and then continued his doctoral studies.
Following his graduation from Indiana University, Dalton returned to BYU where he continued to bring recognition to the field of viola studies. He was instrumental in the acquisition of the Primrose documents in the Harold B. Lee Library. Dalton has since retired from the University.
Family Life and Church Service
Dalton married Donna Glazier in the Mesa Arizona Temple after returning from his mission and studying in Vienna. The couple has four children- Alison, Melissa, Hillary and Aaron. The whole family is involved in music and the arts.
Dalton has served in numerous church callings throughout his life. He particularly remembers the time he served as bishop, which he described as "a wonderful opportunity." Despite his many professional responsibilities, Dalton knows he was sustained in an undefinable way as he served in the Church.