In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Katherine K. Davis.
Katherine K. Davis
Katherine K. Davis, an American pianist, composer, and educator, is best-known for her Christmas tune, Little Drummer Boy. Davis took her first piano lesson as a first grader, and composed her first piece of music, Shadow March, at age 15. Accompanied by her younger brother who played violin, Davis played “anything and everything” she could get her hands on. One of her favorites was the score for Madame Butterfly, and she eventually composed seven operas. She entered Wellesley College planning to major in literature but majored in music instead, and before her junior year won the Billings Prize for Musical Composition. Following her graduation, she stayed on as an assistant in the Music Department, teaching theory and piano. Concurrently, she studied at the New England Conservatory of Music. During a stay in France, Davis was taught by the preeminent conductor and teacher, Nadia Boulanger. Davis taught music at the Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts and at the Shady Hill School for Girls in Philadelphia. Many of her more than 600 works were developed with an eye toward writing for these ensembles. Over the years she published 122 of her compositions and arrangements.