While only 26 years old, violinist Michael W. Davis was named Concertmaster of the prestigious Louisville Orchestra, thrilling audiences for 30 years until his retirement from that position in 2015. All the while, critics have hailed him as “the essence of musicality” and continue to praise him for his “virtuosity” and “exquisite” playing.
Captivated at an early age by the beauty of the violin, Michael, a native of Albertville, Alabama, began studying music at age 7. As a 16 year old he was winner of the state’s MTNA Competition and named “Most Outstanding String Player”. He is a graduate of the world renowned Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University where he was awarded Bachelor and Master of Music degrees with distinction. Studying with James Buswell at Indiana University, he also served as an Associate Instructor of Violin there while doing his graduate work.
Featured in numerous chamber music and orchestral recordings, Michael also has two solo albums, Emmanuel and Amazing Grace. Emmanuel (a fantasia on hymnody for solo violin and orchestra) was composed for Michael by Kurt Kaiser and was recorded in Dvorak Hall with the City of Prague Philharmonic in the Czech Republic. The album Amazing Grace features Michael's own arrangement of that beloved hymn for solo violin as heard at the "Billy Graham Crusade" in Louisville, KY. A very active performer, he has given concerts in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center. In addition to these and other U.S. performances, he has concertized in both Europe and Asia. Participation in the Grand Teton Music Festival, Spoleto Festival, Credo and the Gerhart Chamber Music Festival (where he is Artistic Director) highlight just a few of his summer activities.
In a career bridging the 20th and 21st Centuries, Michael has performed with some of the greatest artists of our time, representing multiple generations and genres.
- He has shared the classical stage with such luminaries as Yo-yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Itzhak Perlman, Mstislav Rostropovich, Midori, Isaac Stern, Rudolf Serkin and Yefim Bronfman.
- Performers from the Operatic World include Luciano Pavarotti, Kathleen Battle, Thomas Hampton and Jessye Norman.
- Popular celebrities are represented by John Williams, Ray Charles, Marvin Hamlisch, Amy Grant, Bob Hope, Julie Andrews, Patti LuPone, Audra MacDonald, America, Three Dog Night, Phyllis George, Olivia Newton John, Matthew Morrison, Jason Alexander and many more.
- George Beverly Shea, Bill Gaither, Michael W. Smith and Kurt Kaiser have all shared their sacred music along side Michael.
- A particular highlight saw Michael featured as the Solo Violinist in "Theme from Schindler's List" with the composer of the theme, John Williams, conducting the Louisville Orchestra!
Along with his tenure as Concertmaster of the Louisville Orchestra, Michael has also been a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he has served on the violin faculties at the University of Louisville, Campbellsville University and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his family currently reside in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado where Michael enjoys his passion for fly fishing.