2019 Viola Award Finalist for Excellence in Community Impact (Individual)
Owen Davis is a composer, percussionist, improvisor, noise artist, educator, and curator based in Flagstaff, AZ. He is currently the general music teacher at Sturgeon Cromer Elementary School in Flagstaff Unified School District. He also maintains a growing private percussion studio teaching the percussive arts weekly to students of all ages. His artistic work is animated by noise – searching out ways to find and make it in composition, improvisation, and other artistic endeavors. He is an active recording artist, improvisor, and new music performer nationally and internationally frequently collaborating or composing for projects and performances. He holds degrees in Music Education (Northern Arizona University studying with percussion professor Steven Hemphill) and a master’s degree in Music Composition (DePaul University).
As a composer, Owen’s music has been heard in new music venues across the United States and Europe including Chicago, NYC, Atlanta, and Berlin. He has received commissions from and received performances by soloists, various new music chamber ensembles, and university and high school programs including the Chamber Cartel, the College of Southern Idaho, Ensemble 20+, and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). In 2018, Owen was an invited composer and performer in the Labo de musique contemporaine de Montréal (Montréal Contemporary Music Lab) which is a two week immersive and collaborative festival for creative performers, improvisors, and composers. In 2016, Owen was an Artist in Residence supported by the NAU School of Music for which he gave a series of lectures, workshops, and composed two new works for faculty and student performers. He was a performer and composer for the SOUNDS New Music Concert Series from 2009-2015, and has both performed extensively with and have compositions performed by Flageolet, an NAU faculty new music ensemble, directed by NAU Composition professor Bruce Reiprich. In 2013, Owen created a six-week long composition project with the 5th grade class at Sechrist Elementary in Flagstaff to develop the expressive form of creativity and high-level critical thinking in the students through the means of group composition and improvisation. Owen also created and directed a summer composition workshop in 2013/14 as part of the Chaparral MusicFest in Prescott, AZ as well as teaching Percussion and Composition at the Curry Summer Music Camp at NAU since 2013.
In 2014, Owen was one of the founding members of the Chicago-based performance collective, Mocrep, with which he currently performs as well as serves as a co-artistic director. With Mocrep, Owen has performed as an invited ensemble at the 2016 Darmstadt International Summer Course for New Music at which they also led a collaborative workshop called “Just Beyond our Instruments is the World” alongside Harvard Professor Dr.Steven Takasugi. Mocrep has also been a resident ensemble at Stanford University, Mills College, Pro Forma Arts in Copenhagen, and two residencies Munich,Germany. He was also a member of the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra percussion section from 2009-2012 and still occasionally performs with the orchestra.
Owen founded and currently curates the Interference Series, a improvised/avant/experimental performance series and fiscally sponsored non-profit organization in Flagstaff, AZ now in its fourth season. Owen, alongside two other curators, has produced over 130 distinct performances featuring local artist as well as national and international artists from Austria, Boliva, Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, and more than 15 U.S. states. Venues include Firecreek Coffee, Flagstaff Brewing Company, Dark Sky Brewing, Kickstand Kafe, Flagstaff Modern and Contemporary Gallery, Downtown Flagstaff, and the Coconino Center for the Arts. The Interference Series aims to present the work of performing artists that is experimental, avant garde, or radical in nature. By providing a consistent home for this innovative and exciting art, they serve as a platform for musicians, poets, performance artists, visual artists, dancers, and other yet to be defined styles of performers as well as building a vibrant local community that supports it. The series believes that the Flagstaff community deserves to have access to expansive and diverse voices in contemporary performance usually reserved for large cosmopolitan centers.