Joshua Davis

Department: Music

Associate Professor of Music

  • Education
  • DMA, Univ of Maryland College Park
  • BA, Univ of New Hampshire Durham
  • MM, New England Conserv Music
  • Instruments
  • Bass
  • Theory & Composition
  • Jazz Band
  • Music History

Dr. Joshua Davis is a composer, arranger, and educator with performances as an orchestral and jazz bassist at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the National Concert Hall in Taiwan, Blue Note Jakarta, Bimhuis Amsterdam, and Opera Marseille; with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, The Four Freshmen, Artichoke Dance Company, Tim Miller, Vardan Ovsepian, Peter Erskine, Jerry Bergonzi, and others. Recordings include Common Ground, with Peter Erskine, Bob Sheppard, Vardan Ovsepian, and Takako; Known Garden, a cd featuring Joshua’s compositions in the hands of contemporary jazz performers; Squashua, Joshua’s first feature recording as an arranger and leader, showcasing Romantic Era symphonies and the music of Sting.

Josh joined the faculty at Susquehanna University as the Director of Jazz Studies in 2006. He was the Director of Jazz Studies at Towson University between 2002 and 2006. Prior he was an awarded leader of curriculum development at Berklee College of Music where, as one of the youngest faculty members, he taught for six years. Josh created, a site of video lessons addressing rhythm and meter development. He is a curator at ShapeShifter Plus, programing new music concerts and educating the public about new music in New York City. Composition commissions include Overflow and Convergent Mirrors for Artichoke Dance Company’s 2016 concert series featuring double bass improvisation and Ableton Live, R Trainversations for Bella Voce Singers, and Partita Reflections for solo violin and improvising/classical double bass. Additional concert, composition, and teaching information can be found at

I go nuts over new art that pushes boundaries. Happiness comes when I stumble on something unlike anything I have ever known. Predictability stifles; shocking surprise invigorates and enlightens. Modern dance is my latest muse, particularly the work of Artichoke Dance out of NYC. This company inspires a synthesis of music and movement, and asks for all I can conjure when composing with the creative elements I love most: jazz, classical, modern electro-acoustic and Indian form and structure. Susquehanna fosters this research with support for the travel required to continue my research in these directions, both for me to get to the people and venues defining these worlds, and for many of these people to come to us right here on campus, as resources for our students and local community.

Smart athletics are critical to sustaining what I do. Yoga and the campus pool keep me alive. Double bass, my primary instrument, stands well over my height and imposes a pretty hefty toll physically if I am not coming at it with smart exercise several times a week.

Above all else, Bella and Sam, my young children, are at the heart of my inspiration. While I've been in love with teaching for a couple decades beyond their ages, they've redefined what it is to be there for someone-for family members, friends, students, for everyone who looks to you for what it is you bring to the world.


D.M.A., Composition, University of Maryland, College Park, MD                      2007
Composition: Dr. Thomas DeLio

M.M., Double Bass, New England Conservatory, Boston, MA                             1996
Double Bass: Donald Palma, Hindustani Music: Dr. Peter Row, Improvisation: Bevan Manson

B.A., Music Theory, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH                      1993    
Double Bass: John Hunter, Larry Veal, Composition: Walter Sir                    


Susquehanna University, Associate Professor, Director of Jazz                           2006-present

Jazz Ensemble (Big Band)        14 semesters
Study of Jazz (Jazz History)     13 semesters
Double Bass                                 14 semesters
Jazz Combos                                14 semesters
Composition                                  7 semesters
Jazz Improvisation                      5 semesters
World Music Perspectives          3 semesters
Aural Theory II                             3 semesters
Aural Theory III                           2 semesters
Vocal Jazz                                      2 semesters
Written Theory II                         2 semesters
Written Theory III                       2 semesters
20th Century Music                     1 semester
Intro. to Music                              1 semester

Towson University, Director of Jazz/Commercial Music (2003-2006)               2002-2006

History of Jazz, Honors History of Jazz                 Jazz Ensemble
Jazz Theory/Improvisation I & II                            Pop Ensemble
Jazz/Commercial Bass

Berklee College of Music, Associate Professor                                                           1996-2002

Ensemble Curriculum Development Chair (1997-1999)
Recording Studio Ensemble, levels 7-8 (8 level system)          Jazz Improvisation
Contemporary Styles Ensemble, levels 1-2                                 Recital Preparation Seminar
Jazz Ensembles, levels 1-8                                                             Double Bass, Electric Bass 

University of Maine at Augusta, Instructor of Double Bass                                     1995-1996

Penn State Summer Youth Music, bass/improvisation/ensemble faculty            2010-2012

Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, bass/improvisation/ensemble faculty              1996-2009                                                                                          2013-present
Author/Owner, pre-recorded video lessons, play alongs, interactive forum

Guest Conducting

Pennsylvania District 4 All-Star Big Band                           2014

Pennsylvania All-State Big Band                                           2012

Pennsylvania District 8 All-Star Big Band                           2012

Virginia Commonwealth University Jazz Ensemble          2011

Penn State University Summer Music Big Band                 2010-2012

Tunkhannock All-District Jazz Ensemble                            2008

Cumberland Jazz Festival Big Band                                      2005

Frederick All-County High School Jazz Band                      2005

Towson High School Wind Ensemble and Big Band          2005
performance of commissioned composition Pedals with Towson University Jazz Faculty


Pennsylvania All-State Jazz Auditions, Rhythm Section   2011, 2013

Governor Mifflin H.S. Jazz Festival                                       2010

Susquehanna University High School Jazz Festival           2010, 2012, 2014
-create, market, adjudicate, direct, perform

Conrad Weiser Jazz Festival, Robesonia, PA                       2009

Maryland All-State Jazz auditions                                         2006

Maryland All-State Jazz auditions                                         2005

Maryland All-State Jazz auditions                                         2004

Southern Pennsylvania High School Jazz Festival             2003

U.N.H. Clark Terry Jazz Festival                                            2002, 1999

Conference Presentations

  • International Society of Bassists Conference, San Francisco State University, 6/7/11
    Got Rhythm? -Odd Meter Performance Skills Development
  • International Society of Bassists Conference, San Francisco State University, 6/8/11
    Early -Paul Sharpe Recital Performance of my composition for double bass and piano
  • PMEA Conference Presentation:, Valley Forge, PA, 4/23/09-4/24/09
    two sessions: Improvisation for Beginners, Musical Conversations in the Rhythm Section
  • MMEA Conference Presentation:, Valley Forge, PA, 4/23/09-4/24/09
    two sessions: Improvisation for Beginners, Musical Conversations in the Rhythm Section
  • MMEA Jazz All-State Conference Presentation: Towson University, Towson, MD
    Rhythm Section Coaching, 1/14/06, 1/23/09-1/24/09
  • VMEA Conference Presentation: Burlington, Vermont, 10/23/08 
    two sessions: Improvisation for Strings, Musical Conversations in the Rhythm Section

Conference Presentation/Performance

Association of Performing Arts Presenters, New York, NY, 2015
International Society of Bassists Biannual Convention, ISB, San Francisco State University, 2011
International Society of Bassists Biannual Convention, ISB, State College, PA, 2009
International Association of Jazz Educators, New York, NY, 2006



  • USC Jazz Department, Rhythm/Meter Workshop
  • Beijing Contemporary Music Academy, Beijing (contracted for May)


  • Beijing Contemporary Music Academy, Beijing: Big Band Coaching
  • Penn State University Jazz Festival, Big Band Coaching (with Phil Woods)
  • Lebanon Valley College, Annville, PA: Jazz Ensemble Coaching


  • Penn State University Summer Music, Big Band, Improvisation
  • JZ School, Shanghai: Improvisation
  • Beijing Contemporary Music Academy, Beijing: Rhythmic Awareness


  • Penn State University Summer Music, Improvisation
  • Yichang University, Yichang, China: Small Ensemble Performance Skills
  • JZ School, Shanghai: Big Band Coaching
  • Beijing Contemporary Music Academy, Beijing: Big Band Coaching


  • Penn State University Summer Music, Improvisation
  • JZ School, Shanghai: Small Ensemble Performance Skills

2009 and earlier

  • Susquehanna University Music Department Forum:
    Chamber Music 9/09, 9/08, Improvisation 9/08, Afro-Cuban Rhythm 2/07,
    Hindustani Rhythm 2/07, 9/07, 9/06
  • Susquehanna University SAHC Luncheon Presentation, How Jazz Works 11/6/07
  • Anchorage Arts Festival: Jazz Theory and Improvisation 7/07, 7/08
  • L'Octave, Paris, France: Improvisation 5/24/07, 6/12/08
  • Maine All-State Jazz Festival: Jazz Interpretation, Jazz Improvisation 1/08
  • Yerevan Conservatory, Yerevan, Armenia: Jazz Improvisation 6/08
  • Anchorage Public Schools (9 orchestras in 6 high schools): Improvisation (1 week) 1/07
  • Towson University: TaKaDiMi, 2/7/06, Jazz Choir Groove and Improvisation 2/10/05 
  • Howard County Band Directors Meeting: Jazz Rhythm Section 11/21/05
  • Cumberland Jazz Festival: Rhythm in Twos and Threes 5/28/05             
  • Baltimore School for the Arts: Jazz Improvisation (co-taught w/ Jeff Antoniuk) 11/22/04
  • Baltimore School for the Arts: Improvisation 2004
  • Towson University: Big Band Conducting 2004, co-taught w/ Tim Miller: Reharmonization 2004, co-taught w/ Monica Yngvesson Improvisation 2004, co-taught w/ Vardan Ovsepian: Reharmonization 2003, co-taught w/ Ben Monder: Improvisation and Interplay 2003
  • Berklee College of Music: Guitar in a Jazz Ensemble 8/16-8/19/05, Guitar Week 2004, co-taught w/ Mick Goodrick: Contemporary Improvisation (5 sessions) 1996-2002, Odd Meter Performance Skills (7 part series) 2001, Time and Articulation 2000, Odd-Numbered Note Groupings 1999, Bach 'Cello Suites and Charlie Parker (4 part series) 1999, Compositional Improvisation 1998, co-taught w/ Skip Hadden: Phrasing 1997, co-taught w/ John Baboian: Bebop 1997, co-taught w/ Theresa Sutton: Vocal Performance 1996


Compact Disc Recordings (as accompanist)

Natalie John                              Natalie John, Conor Elmes,                                          2015
X                                                  Mark Papagno, Marco Minneman                               2014
Common Ground                     Bob Shepperd, Peter Erskine, Vardan Ovsepian      2010
Trio                                             Mark Papagno, Todd Harrison                                     2010
Aragast (Fresh Sound Records)  Vardan Ovsepian, Tim Miller, Mark Ferber        2008
Trio II                                        Tim Miller, Take Toriyama                                            2008
Voce                                           Vardan Ovsepian, Take Toriyama, Megumi Sasaki  2006
Trio                                            Tim Miller, Take Toriyama                                             2005
Akunc   (Fresh Sound)           Vardan Ovsepian, Take Toriyama                                 2005
Sketchbook (Fresh Sound)   Vardan Ovsepian, Take Toriyama                                 2002
Somewhere Out There          Mitch Haupers, Bob Weiner, Vardan Ovsepian          2000
Amphora                                  Mark Kleinhaut                                                                  2000
Crosscurrent                           Crosscurrent                                                                       2000
Satellite Zamby                      Mendes Brothers                                                                2000
We                                             Vardan Ovsepian, Take Toriyama                                  1999
Flowers For You                     Susanna Sifter, Casey Scheuerell, Dino Govoni           1999
Here's To Life                         Dane Vanatter, Valentin Gregor                                      1998
Northern Standard Time     Tom Snow, Phil Verrill                                                       1998

Compact Disc Recordings (as composer/leader)

2011                 Natalie John, Ole Mathisen, Ronen Itzik (released as mp3s)             2011

Known Garden Vardan Ovsepian, Tim Miller, Jordan Perlson, Ole Mathisen         2009
Broadcast internationally on over 30 radio stations

Squashua        Vardan Ovsepian, Take Toriyama                                                            2002

Long-Term Performance Collaborations

Asuka Kakitani Jazz Orchestra (big band)                                                                       2012-present                                                                                                                                                                 Love Salad with Nicole Zuraitis, Tammy Scheffer, Thana Alexa, Ronen Itzik          2012-present
Margret Grebowicz Quartet with Mark Ferber, John O'Gallagher                              2010-present
Andy Middleton Quartet (U.S. band)                                                                                2010-present
Tim Miller Trio with Dan Weiss                                                                                         2006-present
Vardan Ovsepian Group with Tim Miller and Mark Ferber                                         2006-2011
Tim Miller Trio with Take Toriyama                                                                                 1999-2007
Squashua w/ Vardan Ovsepian, Tim Miller, and Take Toriyama                               1999-2007
Mick Goodrick                                                                                                                        1996-2002
Crosscurrent                                                                                                                            1998-2002
Fairbanks Festival Orchestra, principal bass                                                                    1996-2001 
Granite State Symphony, principal bass                                                                           1995-2001 
Gene Bertoncini Trio                                                                                                             1999 
The Ritz, US/Indonesia tours                                                                                              1993-1995
Artie Shaw, US/Taiwan/Hong Kong tours                                                                        1992-1995
Royal Princess (cruise ship) Show Band                                                                            1999  

Commissioned Compositions, 2014

Disphotic Twilight Zone      commissioned by Florida Gulf Coast University                October 2014
Overflow                         commissioned by Artichoke Dance Company, Brooklyn          August 2014
Rhythms of the R               commissioned by Bella Voce Singers, Brooklyn                     July 2014
Mirrors                          commissioned by Artichoke Dance Company, Brooklyn            May 2014
Almond, for violin and double bass   for violin soloist Jennifer Sacher-Wiley               March 2014
Courantithesis, for violin and double bass   for violin soloist Jennifer Sacher-Wiley   March 2014
Sera's Pond, for violin and double bass   for violin soloist Jennifer Sacher-Wiley        March 2014
You, Ray, for violin and double bass   for violin soloist Jennifer Sacher-Wiley             March 2014

Compositions, 2000-2013

Crying Smile
Do It
Hand In Hand
Open Me
Say with Care
Standing Where You Stood
There is a Tree
Who Got This Party Started
Who We Really Are
Ara's Waltse
Thicker Thinner
Balkan Glance
Another Skinny
16th Thing
Almost Tea
Sweet Pay
Despite Amnesia
If They Asked
Sco Ho Ho
Chance Beating
Thin Plan Sally
Quaalude for a Kiss
You Must Believe In Xin

Violin, violoncello, double bass, marimba, and percussion

Wind ensemble

3 horns + rhythm section
Bag Groove

2 horns + rhythm section
B Material

Big band
Quaalude for a Kiss
Miller Me Softly
China Dolls
Try Me
Thinner Dirge

String quartet and double bass solo

Double bass and 'cello
Bellow and Chase

Double bass and soprano
In Nomine Madre

Marimba and double bass

double bass solo
Webbed Feat

Administration/Service to the Institution

Susquehanna University (Fall 2006 - present)

  • Faculty Scholarship and Development Committee                    chair 2008-11, 2013 - present
  • Arts Events Committee                                                         2015
  • Faculty Scholarship and Development Committee                    2007
  • GO China, touring students in China, 16 days annually              2010-2014
  • Arts Events Committee                                                          2010-13
  • University Conduct Board                                                       2008-10
  • Yoga/Wellness, Susquehanna University Athletics                     2007-present
  • Advising: 10 - 30 students per semester                                  2006-present

Music Department Committees

  • Director of Orchestra Faculty Search                                         2014
  • Recruitment Task Force                                                          2011 - present
  • Ear Training Task Force, chair                                                  2010
  • Recruitment                                                                          2008-10
  • Ensemble Directors                                                                2008-09
  • Director of Choirs/Choral Faculty Search -hire of Dr. Rod Caldwell 2008
  • Musicology/Organ Faculty Search -hire of Dr. Marcos Krieger        2007

Music Department Recruitment (annual events)

  • SU H.S. Jazz Festival, , 2015, 2009 - 2012
  • "Choosing the Right College"
  • Fall Open Houses
  • SU Music Department audition adjudication, 4-5 Saturdays each winter
  • Arts in Action

Service at Towson University (Fall 2002 - Spring 2006)

  • University Curriculum Committee, 2 semesters
  • University Technology Committee, 4 semesters, 2 semesters as chair
  • Department Rank Committee, 8 semesters
  • Department Curriculum Committee, 4 semesters
  • Department Executive Committee, 6 semesters
  • Department Applied Instrumental Committee, 8 semesters
  • Music Faculty Search (2 searches)Advising: 4 - 16 students per semester
  • Student Activities, Kung Fu, 2003

Curriculum Development at Berklee College of Music (Fall 1996 - Spring 2002)

  • Ensemble Curriculum (EN-200) Development Chair (1997-1999)

Curriculum Development at Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival            (Summers of 1996-2009)        

  • Jazz course designs, coordinate jazz faculty (2000-2009)

Online Teaching Website

  •                 2013 - present
  • Author/Owner


Brooklyn Arts Council, Loops 4 Choirs, Solo Voice and Improvising Bass        2015
Brooklyn Arts Council, Creative Systems at ShapeShifter Plus                            2015

Susquehanna University Faculty Development & Research: Recording            2014
Producing/Recording EPK of original compositions

Accepted to the Pennsylvania Performing Artists on Tour roster                       2011-2014
Subsidized concertizing

Susquehanna University Faculty Development & Research: Recording           2012
Producing/Recording EPK of original compositions

Audio/Video Recording Funding                                                                              2011

Susquehanna University Faculty Development & Research: Recording          2008
Producing/Recording CD of original compositions

Maryland State Arts Council Solo Performance                                                    2003
CD Recording award for excellence in recorded performance


UCross Foundation Composition Residency                                                        2014
Japan Foundation Uchida Fellowship, Shamisen/Aikido/Japanese              2000


Lake Placid Institute, full scholarship                                                                    2000
Berklee Faculty Outstanding Achievement in Curriculum Development       1999


Jerry Bergonzi Quartet, Yerevan, Armenia                                                            June 08


WVIA                                                                                                                              March 2015
KUAC                                                                                                                              July 2009
Known Garden CD, Joshua Davis Group, over 30 stations internationally     2009 - present

Courses taught:

  • MUSC-007 String Lesson
  • MUSC-008 String Lesson
  • MUSC-023 Composition Lesson
  • MUSC-024 Composition Lesson
  • MUSC-078 Jazz Ensemble
  • MUSC-079 Jazz Improvisation
  • MUSC-101 Introduction to Music
  • MUSC-102 A Study of Jazz
  • MUSC-152 Survey of World Music
  • MUSC-363 Theory V: Modality, Set Theory