My name is Ben Davis and I am a senior trumpeter and composer from Richmond, Virginia studying Music Education here at UW. Being at UW has allowed me to become involved in so many different musical experiences that have been invaluable to my growth as a musician, educator, and student. I have been able to put on so many different hats in my career here between teaching music in practicum, being the Associate Director of the Isthmus Jazz Series with the Wisconsin Union Theater last year, performing with large ensembles and in brass quintet, and working as an ensemble librarian. I have been incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the great instrumental, composition, and music education faculty here and collaborate with graduate and undergraduate colleagues.
Recently, what I have been doing has been an eclectic mix of activities. This summer was the second time I had the pleasure to be a teaching assistant in the brass area at Interlochen Arts Camp where I got to coach chamber music with the high schoolers, conduct the Intermediate Brass Ensemble, play with the Faculty Brass Ensemble and Big Band, help teach the brass component of instrument exploration, and make connections to artists on faculty and staff from all over the country. At UW, I am finishing up my coursework in the final semester before I student teach next semester, so things are very busy in my life currently. Like most semesters, I have the privilege to work with and learn from esteemed trumpet guru John Aley, whose unbelievable sound and great teaching attracted me to UW as a high schooler. I am also enrolled in a number of general education courses. However, this semester’s work also happens to include learning flute, cello, bass, and percussion all of which have been very enjoyable!
Outside of my courses for school, I study composition with Filippo Santoro, a current DMA candidate, who has been a great mentor and very important to my development as a composer. Over the last few months, I had the great opportunity to collaborate with current artist-in-residence at Kennesaw State University and trumpet extraordinaire Doug Lindsey (DMA ‘12). I wrote a new piece for trumpet and stacked percussion (vibraphone and marimba) for him called Impressions that will be played next semester. Next semester will also bring the premier of the quartet Dig. for Trombone, Vibraphone, Piano, and Cello, written for UW senior and trombonist Ty Peterson. It is influenced by ideas of rhythm and groove in free jazz and is structurally informed by the panels of visual artist Sol LeWitt’s All One-Two-Three and Four Part Combinations of Lines in Four Directions and in Four Colors (1976). I am currently working on a piece for orchestra in four movements called freezes, flows and am in the relatively early stages of analysis of Katharina Rosenberger’s octet parcours III.
The scholarships I have received from the School of Music and the Raymond F. Dvorak Scholarship have been very important for my family. Because I am not from Wisconsin or Minnesota, I pay out of state tuition for my schooling which is expensive. The financial assistance provided through these scholarships really have been of much use in reducing the net cost of my schooling and that has allowed me to be able to continue experiencing all of these great things that I have been able to do up here at UW, so I am extremely thankful!