Benjamin Davis


Benjamin Davis is an artist seeking to expand the possibilities and alter modern perceptions of classical music. He does this as a performer, educator, and administrator of musical activities across the midwest.

As a performer, Davis is the acting principal violist with the Des Moines Symphony for the ’17-’18 season, violist of Lux String Quartet (named 2015-16 Classical MPR Class-Notes Artist), section violist with the Quad City Symphony, an improviser in Improvestra, a travel-blogging, busking, improvising street artist and wannabe poet in the viola/cello duo Wormwood, and a frequent collaborative soloist with composers and artists both locally and nationally. He is currently serving as interim violist of the Belin Quartet’s 2017 season. He has also enjoyed substitute orchestral engagements with Orchestra Iowa, Mankato Symphony, and the South Dakota Symphony.

As an educator, he maintains an active studio of violin and viola students strongly influenced by Suzuki pedagogy. Administratively, Davis is the founder and artistic director of the Oskaloosa Music Festival and a previous organizer of events for Classical Revolution Twin Cities.

When not busy with his viola, you might be able to find Benjamin hiking off in some remote mountain range, canoeing through a chain of Northern lakes, or trying to be as Zen as possible on his yoga mat



Member of the Orchestra since


How I got started playing my instrument

Bruce McLellan of the Oskaloosa School District introduced the string family to me at the age of 9. He and his wife Denise, who run the orchestra program in Oskaloosa public schools, planted the seeds of musical joy that I still carry with me today.

Favorite composer

My favorite composer is typically whatever composer I happen to be performing at the moment! There is so much good music out there. It is a joy and honor to bring it all to life for audiences.

Favorite solo piece

My favorite piece to play on the viola is the Irish air "Ar eireann ni neosfainn ce hi" which translates to "For Ireland, I'd not tell her name." It embodies the beautiful simplicity that I love so much in Irish folk music.

Other than classical music _____ is on my iPod

Other than Classical music, Anaïs Mitchell is on my iPod. Her albums "Young Man in America" and her folk opera "Hadestown," are some of my favorite creations by a modern singer-songwriter.