John Davis
Dean, College of Music

John Davis is dean of the College of Music since January 2021 and the University of Colorado Boulder’s foremost thought leader in developing universal musicians—that is, professionals who are well equipped to participate in the 21st century as artists and scholars; as broadly-based professionals with flexible career options; and as passionate, compassionate world citizens. Previously, Davis served as the college’s senior associate dean, 2012-2020. For more than 30 years, he has been an active clinician, performer and guest conductor throughout the United States and Canada.

Davis joined the University of Colorado Boulder faculty in 1999 as director of jazz studies and has taught courses in jazz history, jazz administration and pedagogy, big band, combo, vocal jazz, jazz techniques, and management and leadership. Under his direction, the jazz program was awarded 14 DownBeat magazine Student Music Awards, was recognized by the University of Colorado Boulder chancellor as one of the university’s “core programs of excellence” and was the first named program on our campus when it became the Thompson Jazz Studies Program in 2013. Prior to his appointment at CU Boulder, Davis served as assistant director of jazz studies at the University of Northern Colorado, where he also served as festival coordinator for the UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival for six years.

For 15 years, Davis served on the summer faculty of the Birch Creek Music Academy in Door County, Wisconsin, and was a faculty member of the Texas All-Star Jazz Camp in Plano, 2009-2013. He further served as artistic director for Jazz en Vercors, an annual eight-day summer festival in the Vercors region, France. Additionally, he served as mountain region coordinator for the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE); as president of IAJE Colorado; as coordinator for the Colorado All-State Jazz Bands; and as director of CU Boulder’s Mile High Jazz Camp for five years.

Davis has presented at numerous festivals and campuses, including the University of Kansas, University of Toronto, Canadian Rocky Mountain Music Festival, College of Music SUNY-Fredonia, the IAJE Conference and the Colorado Music Educators Conference. He has also served as guest conductor for honor and all-state vocal and instrumental jazz ensembles in Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Toronto, among others. Further festival appearances and adjudications include the Winnipeg Optimists Jazz Festival, Optimists Music Festival in Regina, Saskatchewan, University of Kansas Jazz Festival, University of Mary Jazz Festival, Northwest Jazz Festival, the Skyline Jazz Festival in Colorado and many others. Additionally, Davis served as trumpet faculty for the SAYOWE project in Thailand, performing with the faculty brass quintet and conducting master classes.

Davis earned a bachelor’s in music education and performance from Metropolitan State College; a master’s in trumpet performance from the University of Denver; a master’s in organizational leadership from Colorado State University; and a doctorate in trumpet performance and pedagogy—with an emphasis in jazz studies—from the University of Northern Colorado. The second edition of the Jazz Volume for the Historical Dictionary for Literature and the Arts, written by Davis, was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2020.