The Kennedy Center

Sam Davis



Biography

Sam Davis is a renowned composer, arranger, and pianist whose Broadway credits include Curtains and The Apple Tree. Mr. Davis is also music director/vocal arranger for Romantic Poetry at Manhattan Theater Club, orchestrator for Jason Robert Brown's The Trumpet of the Swan at the Kennedy Center, music supervisor/arranger for Radio Girl at the Goodspeed Opera, and dance music arranger for the recent London workshop of Bridget Jones' Diary. Mr. Davis has written arrangements for such performers as Bette Midler, Kelli O'Hara, Chita Rivera, Kristin Chenoweth, Marin Mazzie, Jason Danieley, Debbie Gravitte, and Patrick Wilson, and his orchestrations have been performed by the Philadelphia Pops, the Boston Pops, the San Francisco Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the New York Pops, and the National Symphony, among others. Mr. Davis is a founding member of the New Voices Collective at Symphony Space, and entire evenings of his work have recently been presented at Joe's Pub, Birdland, and the Duplex, among other venues.

Last November, Mr. Davis recorded an album of new compositions entitled Love on a Summer Afternoon: Songs of Sam Davis. The album features such Broadway favorites as Danny Burstein (South Pacific), David Hyde Pierce (Curtains), Kevin Chamberlin (The Addams Family), Christopher Sieber (Shrek), Jason Danieley (Curtains, Next To Normal), Bobby Steggert (Ragtime, Yank, 110 in the Shade), Will Chase (Robin and the 7 Hoods, Billy Elliot, High Fidelity), Malcolm Gets (Amour, The Story Of My Life), Michael Arden (The Times They Are a-Changing and the new London revival of Aspects of Love), Edward Hibbert (Curtains, Noises Off), and Tituss Burgess (The Little Mermaid, Guys and Dolls).

Mr. Davis’ conducting and arranging skills have been highlighted on a diverse range of albums including Philip Chaffin's When the Wind Blows South and the restored 1926 musical Kitty’s Kisses. His composition "Greenwich Time," a growing cabaret standard, served as the title track for Rebecca Luker's recent solo album Greenwich Time; he also collaborated on two songs with songwriter Georgia Stitt that appear on her album This Ordinary Thursday and two more appear on her follow-up album to be released next year. Mr. Davis writes and plays in all kinds of styles, but in particular, his songs tend to display a romantic, heartfelt yet rueful quality. On Love on a Summer Afternoon: Songs of Sam Davis, a host of male vocalists will populate the tracks. It’s a different approach, and as Mr. Davis relates, “With the prevailing wisdom that musical theater is a 'diva's' medium, I thought it would be fun to do an album with all men: 15 or 17 great male Broadway singers.” He is also the composer of Bunnicula, with book by Charles Busch and lyrics by Mark Waldrop.

Davis graduated in 1998 from the University of Michigan School of Music, where he studied composition with William Bolcom and Bright Sheng. He also studied in the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. He has written the music for The Scottish Musical (lyrics by Mark Waldrop, book by Darin DePaul), A Good Boy (libretto by Brian Spitulnik), Dysfunctional Fables (lyrics and book by Sean Hartley), and Mina and Colossus (lyrics and book by Ron Nyren). His credits as conductor and pianist include the original Broadway production of Curtains and the recent Broadway revivals of The Apple Tree, Cabaret, Follies, Flower Drum Song, and Into the Woods. He is musical supervisor for the national tour of Dreamgirls, which he conducted at the Apollo Theater and also supervised in South Korea, Japan, and South Africa. His credits as arranger, orchestrator, and/or music director include Romantic Poetry (Manhattan Theater Club), The Trumpet of the Swan (Kennedy Center), Radio Girl and James and the Giant Peach (both Goodspeed), and Sinatra (Radio City Music Hall), plus the recent London workshop of Bridget Jones' Diary. His symphony orchestrations have been performed by the San Francisco Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the New York Pops, the National Symphony, and the Philadelphia Pops, among others.

Watch Past Performances

Video 9/27/2011: Sam Davis

The Broadway composer, arranger, and pianist (Curtains and The Apple Tree) performs an evening of musical theater cabaret. Part of ASCAP’s “Songwriters: the Next Generation” series.

Sam Davis