She already has an impressive list of accolades dotting her vita. But Dr. Kimberley Davis will achieve a goal long coveted by generations of musical artists when The University of Southern Mississippi faculty member performs as a guest soloist at world-renowned Carnegie Hall in New York City Feb. 19.
Davis, an associate professor of voice and voice-related studies at The University of Southern Mississippi, will join other guest soloists for a presentation of award-winning composer/arranger Jacqueline Hairston choral spirituals at the hallowed venue. The event is being held in conjunction with Black History Month and President’s Day weekend.
“It’s a thrill to be chosen, and I’m eagerly looking forward to performing with such a distinguished group of artists,” Davis said. “And for this to take place at Carnegie Hall, a venue with such a distinguished history where so many great talents have performed – it’s quite humbling.
“But the greater thrill is for Hairston. The mantel has passed from her cousin, the famed Dr. Jester Hairston (Amen), to her as the National Preserver of the Negro Spiritual; that she would be contacted and recognized by Carnegie is an esteemed honor.”
Davis is an active member of the National Association of Teachers of Singingand is on the Executive Board of the Mississippi Chapter, the Music Teachers National Association and is a formermember of the executive board of the State Chapter of the MTNA, the Mississippi Music Teachers Association (MMTA) and was formerly the Voice Area Chairperson for the organization.
In addition to being an active adjudicator, the Mobile, Ala. native is an active clinician in this region, nationally, and internationally and also gives mini-concerts for children. She is a member of the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College in Chicago and the African American Art Song Alliance.
The Art Song Alliance will hold its second symposium in February at the University of California, Irvine where Davis has been invited to premier the works of composer Malcom Rector and Charles Ingram. During the first conference, Davis premiered art songs by Jacqueline Hairston.
In 1990 Davis was selected as a fellow of the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. She has studied with Dr. Vivian Wood at Southern Miss, Vera Rosza (teacher of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa) in London, and has coached with pianist/author Mary Dibbern and baritone Laurence Albert in Paris, France; tenor Christor Solen of Stockholm, Sweden; and the late baritone William Warfield. She has performed in concert with Austrian baritone Benno Scholum, and collaborated with baritones Robert Sims, Kenneth Overton, and Gregory Rahming.
Davis has performed nationally, throughout Europe, in South America and Mexico, Bermuda and Hawai’i. In addition to a repertoire of major orchestral and chamber works, she has several touring programs of specialized music highlighting French Mélodie and those that focus on the music of African Americans—A Spiritual Journey and Contemporary Song; and a lecture recital titled The Art Songs and Arrangements of Notable 20th Century African American Female Composers, most often performed with composer Jacqueline B. Hairston.
Davis and Hairston have worked together previously, and are collaborating on an upcoming CD release Songs of the Soul and Spirit: the Spiritual Arrangements of Jacqueline B. Hairston and two annotated anthologies of Hairston’s arrangements and art songs.
“To have the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall is considered a grand achievement in the world of music,” said Dr. Steven Moser, interim dean of the College of Arts and Letters. “I’m proud for Kimberley and I know she will be a great representative for Southern Miss at this event.”