olivia davis

Arnold and Babette Salamon Fellow


I grew up in an artistic family. My grandmother and mother painted, and my father was a graphic designer. He also played guitar in a band at a young age that toured the west coast, and my grandfather was once in a band that performed for live radio. My great grandfathers played violin, though not professionally, and there was me, who loved visual art at a young age... I would wake up at six in the morning and, ready for the day of creativity, begin drawing, begin painting, begin creating...”

— Olivia Davis


Olivia Davis grew up in Eugene, OR where she began her studies in violin performance at the age of nine years old. She attended the University of Oregon where she received her B.M. in Violin Performance and Music Composition in 2013. Davis studied violin performance under Kathryn Lucktenberg, and composition with David Crumb and Robert Kyr. In her last year of studies at the University of Oregon, Davis began playing viola, studying with Leslie Straka. As a a very versatile performer, she occupied multiple positions both as violinist and violist during her time in Eugene: associate and assistant concertmaster, principal second violinist, and principal violist of the University of Oregon Symphony Orchestra, principal second violinist of the Eugene Contemporary Chamber Ensemble (ECCE), concertmaster and principal second violinist of the Collegium Musicum, and principal violist for the Oregon Bach Collegium. In the third year of her undergrad, she co-founded the Ova Novi Ensemble (ONE) that celebrated and performed works by women and those identifying as female composers. Membership for Ova Novi consisted of, and welcomed all genders.

Davis continued her education in 2014 at the University of Texas at Austin where she received her M.M. in Composition, studying composition with Yevgeniy Sharlat, Dan Welcher, Donald Grantham, Russell Pinkston, and viola with John Largess. In Austin, Davis had the opportunity to perform as principal violist with the University of Texas at Austin New Music Ensemble, concertmaster and soloist of the University of Texas Early Music Ensemble, and section violist with the Round Rock Symphony. She was a founding (and current) member of the ensemble, prismatx, a group whose mission it is to combine visual arts with new music,

collaborating with living artists. As a performer and composer, Davis has taken part in multiple festivals, including The Next Festival of Emerging Artists, and the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium in which she was principal violist of the American Creators Ensemble. Recently, the violin octet version of her piece, “Night Nihilism,” premiered at the Brancaleoni International Music Festival in Piobbico, Italy.

She is currently the recipient of the Rackham Merit Fellowship at the University of Michigan where she is pursuing her D.M.A. in Composition. She is an accomplished visual artist, and continues to be an active performer, performing and premiering colleagues’ works as well as her own. Davis will be the featured artist in an upcoming concert of women composer’s works in Austin, TX this fall.