Xavier Davenport (b. 1995) writes music that is meticulously structured, technologically experimental, humorous, theatrical, often improvisatory, and sometimes entertaining.
Born in Ohio, he attended Wittenberg University where he was awarded the Sara Krieg Music Scholarship, and later the Huebner Scholarship. In his four years as an undergraduate student, he obtained degrees in Chinese language & culture, physics, and music. He next obtained a master’s degree in electrophysics from the National Chiao-Tung University in 2020, then another master's degree in music composition in 2022 from DePaul University. Davenport is now working towards a DMA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
I write music that is meticulously structured, technologically experimental, humorous, theatrical, often improvisatory, and sometimes entertaining. I often utilize my background in mathematics and physics to develop highly flexible compositional procedures. For example, my piece Gradient Layers was initially conceived as a four-dimensional structure through which players traverse, each axis representing a different timbral dimension. Timbral trajectories within this higher dimensional space are extracted and presented on the page. Players are free to interpret these extractions and play them in any order, thereby exploring each layer of the four-dimensional structure.
Deriving structure from abstract formulations is a clear tendency in my recent work. The highly abstract and technical derivation of form in Gradient Layers, is contrasted by the very physical and visual structure presented in my piece Card Music. In designing a card game to act as both the content and structure of the piece, form has become inexorably linked to the aesthetic of the piece.
The integration of new technology in performance is an area which I have begun to explore and intend to delve into much more deeply. In the premiere performance of Card Music, I designed a light show to emphasize structural moments within the piece. When approaching composing using technology, I find it easiest to embrace whatever design-flow is suggested by the technology, rather than impose my own techniques and compositional procedure. In this way, I believe the creation and adaptation of new technology is crucial to the development of new sounds and artistic directions.