Professor-Guitar Area Coordinator; Music Technology Coordinator
Ph.D., University of Kentucky
M.M., University of Louisville
B.M., University of Kentucky
B.A., University of Kentucky
Office: Foster 112
Mailing Address: Foster 101
Office Hours: By appointment
Expert Areas: Guitar; Music Technology; and Musicology
Dennis Davis directs the guitar program at Eastern Kentucky University and previously held guitar positions at the University of Kentucky Fine Arts Institute and The Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts. His recent concert tours in Spain (2010 and 2012) featured performances at numerous music festivals and broadcasts on Spanish National Radio and Television. He has performed or shared the stage with Mel Tormé, Ben Vereen, Doc Severinsen, Matt Neiss, Jeff Tyzik, William Kanengiser, and the Los Angels Guitar Quartet. William Kanengiser described his performances as “very expressive and solid playing.” He has performed in masterclasses for Christopher Parkening, Adam Holzman, Sharon Isbin, Frank Koonce, Joseph Hagedorn, and Oscar Ghiglia, and has received private coaching from David Russell, Manuel Barrueco, Eduardo Fernandez, William Kanengiser, and Scott Tennant. Dr. Davis studied jazz guitar with Scott Henderson, jazz improvisation (masterclasses and clinics) with numerous educators, including Jamey Aebersold and David Baker, and has performed in professional jazz ensembles under the direction of Vince Dimartino, Miles Osland, and Dick Domek.
Dr. Davis holds a Ph.D. and undergraduate degrees from the University of Kentucky where he was the first guitarist to be selected as an Honors Recitalist [concert and cable television performance (1991, Lexington, KY)]. He also holds an M.M. in music performance from the University of Louisville, where he was invited to perform in the Grawemeyer Award ceremony concert for Toru Takemitsu.
His ensemble collaborations include The Lexington Guitar Trio, The Kentucky Jazz Repertoire Orchestra, and The Walnut Street Ragtime Ramblers. The 2009 KJRO recording, Flying Home, was praised by reviewers and features classic swing dance era transcriptions. As a member of the Walnut Street Ragtime Ramblers, Dr. Davis performs traditional Dixieland and Ragtime Jazz and was featured on the 2006 Great American Brass Band Festival compilation CD. He has also performed for numerous musicals, including national productions, such as “Off-Broadway Live” at the Lexington Opera House, and for celebrities, such as Wynona and Naomi Judd and Patrick Swayze.
Dr. Davis is a frequent guest clinician, adjudicator, and presenter. He also co-directs music technology studies at Eastern Kentucky University and his music technology curriculum has been adopted by other institutions. He is an active member of GFA, AMS, SAM, and TI:ME (Technology Institute for Music Educators) and has taught music technology certification workshops (Sibelius) for the University of Kentucky and TI:ME. He served several terms as the president of The Guitar Society of Lexington-Central Kentucky and was awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kentucky Arts Council, the Lexington Arts and Cultural Council, the EKU Office of Institutional Effectiveness, the EKU College of Arts and Sciences, and the EKU Assessment Committee.
His scholarship has appeared in several publications, including Soundboard, The Encyclopedia of Appalachia, and TI:ME. His most recent awards were earned for pioneering a technology-focused methodology for student self-assessment that culminated in invitations to teach sessions at the Appalachia State Guitar Festival and the Kentucky Music Educator’s Association Conference (KMEA).
His freelance work spans more than thirty-five years of concertizing experience and his commercial music performances regularly feature original MIDI sequences that not only function as a complete digital ensemble, but also include real-time digitized vocal harmonizations. Theatrical companies have utilized his MIDI sequences for their live performances, including multiple productions by The Lexington Children’s Theater.