Katherine Kennicott Davis

From Wind Repertory Project
Katherine Kennicott Davis


Katherine Kennicott Davis (25 June 1892, St. Joseph, Mo. – 20 April 1980, Littleton, Mass.) was a composer, pianist, and author of the famous Christmas tune The Little Drummer Boy.

Davis composed her first piece of music, Shadow March, at the age of 15. She graduated from St. Joseph High School in 1910, and studied music at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. In 1914 she won the college's Billings Prize. After graduation she continued at Wellesley as an assistant in the Music Department, teaching music theory and piano. At the same time she studied at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. Davis also studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris.

She taught music at the Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts, and at the Shady Hill School for Girls in Philadelphia. Many of her over 600 compositions were written for the choirs at her school. She was actively involved in The Concord Series, multiple-volume set of music and books for educational purposes.

She became a member of ASCAP in 1941, and was granted an honorary doctorate from Stetson University, in DeLand, Florida.

Katherine K. Davis continued writing music until she became ill in the winter of 1979-1980. She left all of the royalties and proceeds from her compositions, which include operas, choruses, children's operettas, cantatas, piano and organ pieces, and songs, to Wellesley College's Music Department.

Works for Winds