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Brent Michael Davids

BRENT MICHAEL DAVIDS is a professional Concert and Film Composer, and American Indian citizen of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of the Mohican Nation. He currently operates a music company he founded, Blue Butterfly Group (BBG), and Doodlebug Music Studio (db). As an American Indian Music Specialist, Davids serves as Educator and Consultant for Films, Schools, Festivals, Seminars and Workshops. Davids founded the Native American Composer Apprentice Project (NACAP) in AZ, and the Composer Apprentice National Outreach Endeavor (CANOE) in MN and WI. He is a master performer of American Indian instruments and styles, and a designer of original music instruments, known especially for his signature quartz crystal flutes.

Brent Michael Davids’ composer career spans 42 years, including awards from the US-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, ASCAP, National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation, In-Vision, Joffrey Ballet, Park City Film Music Festival, Emmy Award, Kronos Quartet, School for Advanced Research, Chanticleer, Meet-The-Composer, Miró Quartet, National Symphony Orchestra, Bush Foundation, McKnight Foundation, and Jerome Foundation, among others. In 2015, the prestigious Indian Summer Festival awarded Davids its “Lifetime Achievement Award” in music.

Davids holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music Composition from Northern Illinois University (1981) and Arizona State University (1992) respectively, trained at Redford’s Sundance Institute (1998), and in 2003 apprenticed with Oscar-winning film composer Stephen Warbeck (Shakespeare In Love).

He has garnered the Distinguished Alumni Awards from both of the universities he attended, NIU (1996) and ASU (2004), and has been nominated for the prestigious CalArts Alpert Award two times (1995, 2006). In 2011, Davids won a Silver Medal for “Excellence in Original Scoring” from the Park City Film Music Festival for his orchestral score to the animated feature “Valor’s Kids.” Davids has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR, PBS, and NAPT.

Many of Davids’ works employ traditional Native American instruments and often instruments of his own design, including a soprano quartz crystal flute (1989), bass quartz crystal flute (1991), and a dozen other percussion devices that chirp in the air on strings, or whistle when dunked into water. Many of his bowl-shaped devices and resonating drums can be bowed, shaken, or tapped. With an expert hand, he fashions ink manuscripts that are themselves visual works of art, visually beautiful manuscripts that are performable as written sheet music.

He has worked extensively in the choral field as well, often featured as a clinician for conventions, such as his work with Chanticleer at the 6th Annual World Choral Symposium held in Minneapolis (2003). In 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts named Davids among the nation’s most celebrated choral composers in its project “American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius,” along with Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Foster, and 25 others. In 2011, Davids was invited to conduct a month-long tour of Russia, lecturing and performing in Khabarovsk, Birobidjan, Vladivostok and Moscow under an award from the US-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission of the American Seasons in Russia program.

As an Educator, Davids originated and founded the Native American Composer Apprentice Program (NACAP) in Arizona (2000), and the Composer Apprentice National Outreach Endeavor (CANOE) in Minnesota (2005) and Wisconsin (2014), to teach Native youth to compose their own written concert music. Under these programs, hundreds of students have successfully written music scores for string quartets and other instrumental ensembles; and, many of these students did so without the ability to read music prior to Davids’ innovative curriculum.

Davids is widely regarded as an American Indian music specialist in all geographic culture areas of North America, and he is schooled in American Indian Religious Studies at the Masters degree level. He is remarkable as a professional Source Music Director for projects involving American Indian singers, drummers, flutists, solo artists and contemporary bands. Davids began composition studies at the early age of 16, and upon graduating with his Bachelor’s degree, accepted a position as Composer-In-Residence at Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa. Three decades later, Davids has become highly successful as a professional composer of both concert music and film scores, and remains one of the country’s most sought after composers.

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