biography

Praised for their "communicative" playing and "hauntingly beautiful" compositions, Steph (they/them/theirs) is an active marimbist, composer, and educator residing on the homeland of the Massachusett tribal nation. Much of their work is inspired by Black and queer histories, and seeks liberation through community building and authentic expression.

Steph's passion lies in producing recitals, performing solo and chamber music by living composers, arranging music for marimba, and interdisciplinary performance. Their recitals strive to touch on all five of the human senses, making for performances which capture the interest of both classical music fans, as well as those less familiar with the genre. Their recitals are often politically charged, intensely vulnerable, and spaces where audience members engage with themes about race, gender, climate, and capitalism, and mental health.

Steph has premiered dozens of works for marimba in solo and chamber settings, most notably Avik Chari's "Playlists" for bass clarinet, marimba, and electronics. 

Steph Davis

Steph is deeply dedicated to the expansion of the marimba repertoire to include more works by Black composers. Stemming from this dedication, they have arranged dozens of works by Black composers for the marimba – including Traditional Negro spirituals, solo piano works, string quartets, and solo guitar works. 

Steph is proud to be a Marimba One Artist and to endorse Marimba One instruments and mallets.

Characterized as "captivating" and "spine chilling," Steph's music explores the crevices of human identity and expression through methods of improvisation, layered soundscapes, and fluid structures. It is Steph's hope that when performers and audience members hear their music, they find new ways to connect with sound, their environment, and the people around them. Their music has been performed in concert halls and community spaces throughout the U.S and Canada. They have been commissioned by Cameron Denby, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Modern Marimba, Prism Percussion, and Spectrum Ensemble.

As an educator, Steph tutors harmony & counterpoint, ear training, and time & rhythm as a teaching assistant in Boston Conservatory's Core Studies department. They also maintain a private studio of marimba students. They also teach classes and coach ensembles. 

Steph received their Bachelor's degree in percussion performance from the Boston Conservatory. In Fall 2021, they will enter the graduate school at the Conservatory, studying marimba performance with world renowned marimbist Nancy Zeltsman. 

When they're not playing or writing music, Steph enjoys cooking plant-based meals, tending to house plants, reading, and paddle boarding. Steph is the interim vice president of Modern Marimba and a member of the advisory council of Colorful Bridges.

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