Described as a “captivating storyteller" and "sensitive" player, Steph Davis (they/them) is a Boston based artist and marimbist obsessed with ancestry, critical consciousness, and self-actualization. Their work is created through a spiritual process of resting, feeling, thinking, reflecting, and reading. Through performance, Steph shares generations of Black stories, as well as their own thoughts about race, gender, and society.
An active marimbist, Steph has appeared as a soloist in the U.S. and as a chamber musician with numerous performing ensembles, including Castle of Our Skins, New Gallery Concert Series, MF Dynamics, Southern California Marimba, and Modern Marimba. Steph is passionate about creating concert experiences that are driven by narrative and express Black culture. A central part of their artistic practice involves expanding the marimba repertoire to include more works by Black composers; through arranging, composing, and commissioning new works by Black composers, Steph has contributed over 20 works by Black composers to the marimba's growing body of solo and chamber repertoire.
As a composer, Steph's music draws inspiration from improvisation, Black expression, and natural landscapes. Their music has been performed internationally in the United States, Canada, Europe, and the United Arab Emirates. Steph has received commissions from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Modern Marimba, Spectrum Ensemble, Prism Percussion, Britton-René Collins, and Cameron Denby.
Deeply passionate about Black music education, Steph is a teaching artist with Castle of Our Skins, a Boston-based concert and educational series dedicated to celebrating Black artistry through music. They have led lectures and workshops about spirituals, music & decolonization, and art as a liberatory practice. Additionally, Steph is the vice-president of Modern Marimba, a music organization striving towards racial, gender, and environmental justice through marimba performance and education.
Steph was awarded an ACTivate residency at Boston Center for the Arts, and collaborated on Hatched: Breaking Through the Silence, an award-winning public art project. They were a semifinalist in the Southern California Marimba International Artist Competition and a finalist in the Boston Conservatory Concerto Competition.
Steph received their B.M. in percussion performance at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, where they are currently pursuing a M.M. in marimba performance. Their primary teachers include Nancy Zeltsman (marimba) and Sam Solomon (percussion), with additional studies with Marti Epstein (composition) and John Murphree (composition).
Steph is a Marimba One Artist.