Jenny Davis is a musician, educator, and arts administrator in Memphis, TN. What drives her work in all these endeavors is a passion for bringing people together to make and experience art in order to cultivate a curious, supportive, and thriving creative community. Jenny strives to support and create opportunities for artists and audiences alike in creative, innovative, and accessible ways through her work as a teacher, performer, and presenter/organizer.
Jenny has worked with Crosstown Arts, a Memphis-based multidisciplinary arts organization, since 2017. Initially appointed as music program coordinator, Jenny organized and curated performances with symphony musicians and founded the Continuum Music Festival, a multi-day festival featuring new collaborations between Memphis-based and out-of-town musicians.
She is currently the Director of Music Programming at Crosstown Arts and curates/presents/produces about 200 performances per year by local and touring artists across genres and in multiple venues, including a listening room (The Green Room), a blackbox theater (Crosstown Theater), and a variety of public spaces. In an effort to work with and serve the Memphis musical community – a diverse community with a rich and varied musical history – Jenny has formed meaningful relationships with artists in genres from blues, hip hop, gospel, and rock, to jazz, classical, experimental, folk, and Americana. Jenny’s programming is guided by a desire to celebrate and continue cherished Memphis musical traditions, while also encouraging creativity and innovation, saying “yes” to new ideas whenever possible and fostering new connections between diverse artists, communities, and organizations.
Since Crosstown Arts reopened after the pandemic in July 2021, Jenny has organized over 250 performances, from informal lunchtime pop-up performances featuring symphony string quartets, to international touring productions such as Kraftwerk 3D at Crosstown Theater, to projects with local and visiting artists featuring original orchestrations performed by symphony musicians. In May 2022, Crosstown Arts presented drummer Nate Smith + KINFOLK with members of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, which will be featured on NPR / Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Jazz Night in America program in December 2022.
Having written and received grant funding from Chamber Music America, New Music USA, Arts Memphis, and the Tennessee Arts Commission, Jenny curated and organized performances in 2022 by Third Coast Percussion + Movement Art Is, Eighth Blackbird, Bang on a Can All-Stars, PUBLIQuartet, Rushes Bassoon Ensemble, Invoke String Quartet, Unheard-of//Ensemble, HUB New Music, Curtis Lundy & Umoja, and ICEBERG New Music + Blueshift Ensemble.
As a flutist, Jenny performs with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra (substitute flute/piccolo), Blueshift Ensemble, and is currently on the Rhodes College Music Department faculty where she teaches flute and chamber music. In Spring 2023, she will join the music faculty as a sabbatical replacement at Murray State University. She is a doctoral candidate at the University of South Carolina where she was a Graduate Teaching Assistant and holds an MM from Boston University and a BM from Middle Tennessee State University. From 2011 to 2013, Jenny completed two years of postgraduate studies with Trevor Wye at his Flute Studio in the UK. In 2014 and 2015, Jenny was a teaching apprentice at the Boston Flute Academy, where she was mentored by teaching artist Judy Grant. She has studied privately with Dr. Jennifer Parker-Harley, Linda Toote, Trevor Wye, and Dr. Deanna Little and was fortunate to attend numerous classes with the late William Bennett.
Passionate about performing and supporting the work of living composers, Jenny co-founded Blueshift Ensemble with cellist/composer Jonathan Kirkscey in 2016. Blueshift Ensemble is a contemporary chamber music ensemble dedicated to bringing artists and audiences together through artistic collaboration and by presenting performances in nontraditional spaces. By programming both new and existing classical repertoire alongside multi-genre collaborations, Blueshift aims to connect a wider audience to today’s classical music. Blueshift has collaborated with hip hop and visual artist Don Lifted, composer Evan Williams, singer/songwriters Harlan T. Bobo and Mark Edgar Stuart, visual artist Terri Phillips, and has an ongoing collaboration with NYC-based composer collective ICEBERG New Music. Since 2017, Crosstown Arts has hosted Blueshift and ICEBERG for a week-long residency in which the composers present free public workshops and presentations and two public performances of the ten composers’ works performed by Blueshift.
In past summers, Jenny was selected as a performing fellow at the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA, New Music on the Point, Cortona Sessions for New Music, and presented at nief norf Summer Music Festival’s Genre Lines Research Summit with her experimental flute duo if.else. If.else commissioned composer Randy Gibson for a new work titled The Four Pillars Breathing in Harmonic Time and will premiere in Memphis in December 2022.
During her time as a student, Jenny was a winner or finalist in a number of flute competitions including the James Pappoutsakis Memorial Flute Competition, Byron Hester Competition, Myrna Brown (semifinalist), Flute Society of Kentucky Young Artist Competition, Raleigh Area Flute Competition (semifinalist), COFA, South Carolina Flute Society Young Artist Competition, Beethoven Club of Memphis Young Artist Competition, and BachFest (Murfreesboro, TN).
In her free time, Jenny enjoys practicing the Alexander Technique, baking, running, playing badminton (poorly but enthusiastically), and hanging out with her cat Momma.