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, receiving her B.M. in Violin Performance and Composition in 2013. Olivia studied violin performance with Kathryn Lucktenberg, and composition with David Crumb, and Robert Kyr. In her last year of studies at the University of Oregon, Olivia 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) whose mission is to perform works by women and women-identifying composers. Membership for Ova Novi consisted of, and welcomed all genders.
Olivia 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, Donald Grantham, Russell Pinkston, Dan Welcher, and viola with John Largess, violist of the Miró Quartet. In Austin, Olivia 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 prismatx ensemble, a group whose mission is to combine visual arts with new music, collaborating with living artists.
As a performer and composer, Olivia has taken part and been featured in multiple festivals, including the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music as the Arnold and Babette Salamon Fellow; The Next Festival of Emerging Artists as principal violist for the year in which their recording won The American Prize Ernst Bacon Memorial Award in the Performance of American Music; the Brancaleoni International Music Festival in Piobbico, Italy for a premiere of her violin octet in the Castello Brancaleoni; and the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium in which she served as principal violist for the American Creators Ensemble.
Olivia recently graduated from the University of Michigan, receiving a D.M.A. in Composition August, 2020. Her dissertation titled, "Liminal: Work for Orchestra and Optional Projected Images" is an interdisciplinary work consisting of an original musical composition for orchestra and original artwork created by the composer with the option for live projection. Her dissertation received the Rackham Graduate Student Research Grant to perform and/or mock up using the world-class samples libraries of Orchestral Tools Berlin Orchestra.
During Olivia's time at the University of Michigan, she was the recipient of the Rackham Merit Fellowship and the Regents Fellowship, and taught as a Graduate Student Instructor of composition. Olivia studied composition with Evan Chambers, Kristin Kuster, Erik Santos, and viola with Yizhak Schotten. From 2019–20 she was the Young Composer-in-Residence for the Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings (DCWS), and as part of her residency was commissioned to write works for reed trio and trombone quartet which premiered during the 2019–20 season in Detroit.
Olivia is an accomplished visual artist, and continues to be an active performer, performing and premiering colleagues’ works as well as her own. She will be the featured artist in an upcoming concert of women composer’s works in Austin, TX late winter.