Conductor 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, David Lang, 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, the Beijing Modern Music Festival, and the Texas All-State Symphonic Band. Davis also serves 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 on its 2016 Ireland Tour. Davis is also the resident conductor of newEar, Kansas City’s premier new music ensemble. Annually, he hosts the Kansas City Conducting Symposium, one of the largest conducting symposiums in the country. He has received many awards and honorary memberships in professional organizations.
Russell E. Berlin, Jr.
Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor
Michelle Davis has been a music educator, clinician, and performer for over 20 years. During this time, she taught beginning strings and middle school orchestra in Oak Park, Ill., and middle school orchestra in Farmington Hills, Mich. Currently, she is the conductor of four orchestras at Liberty High School in Liberty, Mo. She plays viola in many community orchestras and string quartets in the area and she has maintained a private lesson studio of aspiring violinists and violists. Michelle is highly sought after as a guest conductor/adjudicator in many school districts, and has presented workshops at state and national conferences, including the Michigan Music Educators Association Conference and the American String Teachers Association National Conference. In 2008, she was Liberty Public School District’s “Teacher of the Year.” She is currently serving a two-year term as Missouri Music Educators Association Orchestra Vice-President. Michelle is a graduate of The University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in viola performance and a master’s degree in music education. She is a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), and American String Teachers Association (ASTA). She lives with her husband of 10 years, Steve Davis, and her awesome, yet stubborn, yorkie mix, “Thomas The Man.”