Over the past few months, since Richard Davis, founder of the Richard Davis Foundation for Young Bassists Inc., announced his retirement from the University of Wisconsin School of Music in May 2016, I have steadily been getting nervously inquisitive emails of students and alumni of RDYB as to the future of the Richard Davis Foundation for Young Bassists Inc.
Rest assured, there will be an annual Richard Davis Foundation Bass Conference in 2017 – Same time, same place and unquestionably same sharing of all things bass. Registration open as of December 1, 2016 for the conference which is April 14-15, 2017 this year.
When the UW School of Music (now the Mead Witter School of Music) and the UW Office of Diversity hosted a retirement party for Richard in September 2016, Richard said he did not want the party for the simple fact that although he is retiring from his full-time professor duties at UW, he is not in any way planning on slowing down in his other areas of activity. At the event, fresh off a plane from a week of performing in Europe, Richard started off his speech by saying, “I’m not retiring, I’m just reorganizing!”. Retirement to the professor is truly only a word; his varied performing, teaching (outside of the university), outreach and racial healing work will all continue into the foreseeable future.
A number of articles have recently reflected on Professor Davis’ career at UW and his teaching not only of the bass, but of a first-year interest group “FIG” on the oneness of human kind, the Black Music History Class (4 different classes taught in a sequence, 1 per semester), the Black Music Ensemble and the Madison, WI Institutes for the healing of racism. I recently interviewed Professor Davis to learn a bit more about his experiences in teaching both at UW and after, which will be detailed in a future blog post.