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Steven D. Davis

Rose Ann Carr Millsap Missouri Distinguished Professor of Music/Director of Bands and Wind Ensembles

Steven D. Davis is a lauded, versatile, and cosmopolitan conductor who has inspired ensembles around the world. In constant demand as a guest conductor, he has conducted across four continents, working with ensembles in cities such as Bangkok, Beijing, Lisbon, Sydney, and regularly conducts in his favorite city, Kansas City.

Davis has worked to break down barriers as a conductor by leading performances across many genres. He has been celebrated as a conductor of wind ensembles, orchestras, opera, ballet, and cutting-edge new music ensembles. In addition to conducting symphonic repertoire of historically significant composers, such as Beethoven, Berg, Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler, Schoenberg, and Stravinsky, Davis is fervently committed to performing new repertoire. This commitment has been praised by prominent contemporary composers including Robert Beaser, Chen Yi, John Corigliano, Michael Daugherty, Osvaldo Golijov, Stephen Hartke, James Mobberley, Narong Prangcharoen, Bernard Rands, Paul Rudy, Steven Stucky, Frank Ticheli, and Zhou Long.

Davis currently serves as professor of conducting, and conductor of the Conservatory Wind Symphony at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance. As conductor of the UMKC Conservatory Wind Symphony, he has initiated countless collaborations with other artists and genres, including dance, theater, visual art, and film. Numerous world premieres have been dedicated to the ensemble during his tenure as artistic director.

Davis is a proud advocate for artistic music education and has been a guest lecturer, conductor, and clinician at numerous music and music education conferences across the world.  Most notably, he has performed at five Midwest Clinics in Chicago, and has led a myriad of All-State ensembles across the United States. His most recent guest conducting and teaching engagements include the Eastman Wind Ensemble, Beijing Modern Music Festival, and the Texas All-State Symphonic Band.  Davis has, for many years, served on the Orchestra and Wind Ensemble conducting faculty of the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp.

Davis is now in his ninth season as the conductor of the Youth Symphony of Kansas City’s Symphony Orchestra. Under his direction, the Symphony Orchestra has performed at the Kansas and Missouri Music Educators Conferences, the Midwest Clinic, and in June 2016, he will lead the ensemble on a tour of Ireland. Davis is also the resident conductor of newEar, Kansas City’s premier new music ensemble. As a respected conducting pedagogue, annually, he hosts the Kansas City Conducting Symposium at UMKC, one of the largest conducting symposiums in the country.  He has received many awards and honorary memberships in professional organizations.