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Joshua Davis

Director of Jazz Studies
Joshua Davis
105 Music Building II

Joshua Davis was appointed as the Director of Jazz Studies in Fall 2022. Dr. Davis joined the Penn State music faculty in 2018 as a lecturer teaching classical and jazz double bass and ensembles. Prior to his appointment, he was the Director of Jazz Studies at Susquehanna University (2006–2018) and at Towson University (2002–06). Before Towson, 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. Joshua spent two years as a member of the faculty at the University of Maine at Augusta and has taught numerous performance skills clinics at USC, Berklee, Koyo Conservatory in Kobe, Japan, the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, and various schools of all grades throughout the United States. MENC-affiliate work includes Maryland All-State Solo/Chamber adjudication, directing a District Jazz Ensemble (Tunkhannock, Pa.), and conference presentations about improvisation and other jazz performance skills at MMEA (MD), PMEA (PA), MD All-State Jazz, and VMEA (VT).

Internationally-acclaimed performances include concerts at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, the National Concert Hall in Taiwan, Lincoln Center, Meyerhoff, the Blue Note Jakarta, Bimhuis Amsterdam, and Strathmore Hall. Internationally-recognized performances include televised concerts in Turkey with Randy Brecker, Sean Rickman, and Timucin Sahin, a U.S. Dept. of State-sponsored Armenia concert with Jerry Bergonzi and Vardan Ovsepian, and numerous other concerts with The Ritz, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, The Four Freshmen, Tim Miller, Ben Monder, Peter Erskine, Mark Ferber, Jordan Perlson, Sean Rickman, Marcello Pellitteri, Dan Weiss, Ted Poor, Ari Hoenig, Ole Mathisen, Jerry Bergonzi, Donny McCaslin, Taylor Haskins, Dave Ballou, Greg Hopkins, JD Walter, and many others.


Pictures of Your Next Decision, Joshua’s most recent commission for orchestra and double bass solo, premiered in November 2018 with the West Shore Symphony Orchestra in Camp Hill, Pa. Other recent commissions include Overflow and Convergent Mirrors, a one-hour program for Artichoke Dance Company’s concert series featuring double bass improvisation, and Ableton Live, R Trainversations, a choral work for Bella Voce Singers, and Partita Reflections, a four-movement contemporary reflection on Bach’s B minor Partita for Solo Violin, featuring improvising double bass and violin. Known Garden, his most recently released CD, features Joshua’s compositions played by contemporary jazz performers. Squashua, Joshua’s first feature recording as an arranger and leader, showcases Romantic Era symphonies and the music of Sting.


  • Education
    • BA from University of New Hampshire
    • MM from New England Conservatory
    • DMA from University of Maryland
  • Courses Taught
    • Jazz Bands
    • Jazz Studies
  • Publications + Presentations



    • Total Eclipsed Me, Love Salad with Joshua Davis (bass/compositions), Todd Harrison (drums), Blake Cramer (marimba/vibraphone), Jonathan Epley (guitar), Natalie John (voice), Corrine Byrne (voice)
    • Oneness, Vardan Ovsepian (piano), Joshua Davis (bass), Tim Miller (guitar), Zach Harmon (drums)


    • Known Garden, Joshua Davis (bass/compositions), with Vardan Ovsepian (piano), Tim Miller (guitar), Ole Mathisen (saxophones, and Jordan Perlson (drums)


    • Trio II, Tim Miller (guitar), Joshua Davis (bass), Take Toriyama (drums)
    • VOCE, Vardan Ovsepian Chamber Ensemble


    • Aragast, Vardan Ovsepian (piano), Tim Miller (guitar), Joshua Davis (bass), Mark Ferber (drums)


    • Trio I, Tim Miller (guitar), Joshua Davis (bass), Take Toriyama (drums)


    • Akunc, Vardan Ovsepian (piano), Joshua Davis (bass), Take Toriyama (drums), Agnieszka Dziubak (cello), Monica Yngvesson (voice)


    • Sketchbook, Vardan Ovsepian (piano), Mick Goodrick (guitar), Joshua Davis (bass), Take Toriyama (drums), Monica Yngvesson (voice)


    • Squashua, Joshua Davis (bass/compositions), with Vardan Ovsepian (piano), Tim Miller (guitar), Ole Mathisen (saxophones), Take Toriyama (drums)
  • Expertise
    • Double Bass