BiographyComposer Daniel Thomas Davis’ wide range of musical activities has taken him from the stages of Carnegie Hall and the Royal Opera House to monasteries in the Horn of Africa to directing new-music festivals in the rural South. Praised as “ingenious” by The Guardian and for his “endless curiosity” by USA Today, he creates music singled out for its connection to the human voice and its “magnificent…and entirely original style of orchestration” (Lexington Herald Leader).
Daniel’s music has been performed, commissioned and/or recorded by cellist Lynn Harrell, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Lontano and Odaline de la Martinez at the Purcell Room, Charlotte Symphony, Lexington Philharmonic, Ensemble X, Yarn|Wire, 21st-Century Consort at the Smithsonian, Ossian Ensemble at Saint-Martin-in-the-Field’s, Latvia International Festival, BBC Singers, Locrian Ensemble, Boston’s Back Bay Chorale, eighth blackbird and the Meehan/Perkins Duo. Other performers of his music have included members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Anonymous 4, as well as performers from the Chicago Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, London Philharmonic, London Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, and BBC Symphony Orchestra. In the past seven years, his chamber work, “To Canaan’s Fair and Happy Land” has received over 100 performances on several continents.
Daniel has received fellowships from the British Government (Marshall Scholar), the Bogliasco Foundation, the Yaddo Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and has been honored by awards from BMI and ASCAP. A committed collaborator with filmmakers, choreographers and writers, Daniel recently scored the awarding-winning feature film “An Encounter with Simone Weil,” which premiered at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam before its American theatrical release. In addition to writing music, Daniel is also active as a collaborative pianist and conductor, and periodically performs with several new music ensembles and vocalists.
Immersed in shaped-note singing since his childhood in the rural South, he has strong interests in American popular and traditional musics – especially blues, old-time country, and congregational singing. Fascinated by the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of the human voice, Davis has also studied ethnomusicology and several East African vocal/string traditions, primarily with master artists in Ethiopia and Eritrea. A music professor at the State University of New York at Binghamton, Daniel has previously held appointments at Duke University and the California College of the Arts. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan, Royal Academy of Music, School of Oriental and African Studies, Peabody Conservatory of Music and Johns Hopkins University, and has studied composition with William Bolcom, Michael Daugherty, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Chris Theofanidis, and Judith Weir.