- Ph.D., New York University, 1986
- M.A., Montclair State University, 1979
- B.A., New York University, 1978
- Manhattan School of Music, 1973-1976
Nathan Davis is an arts leader and accomplished classical musician (cellist) who was a tenured and full professor of music at Minnesota State University Moorhead from 1990-2005. Davis concurrently held appointments as director of the university’s performing arts series, 1996-2000, and provost of a higher education consortium (which included North Dakota State University and Concordia College) from 2000-2005. In this time, Davis developed many externally grant funded initiatives: a service-learning based outreach program connected to K-12 string education, many regionally-based artist residencies (including projects with theater and dance companies as well as orchestras), a community arts organization (youth symphony); and, as provost, public policy programs connected to natural resource management, healthcare, and the criminal justice system.
In 2005, Davis accepted a governor’s appointment to be Executive Director of an executive branch agency in Minnesota state government devoted to arts education (Perpich Center for Arts Education). He led the multifaceted organization (with an on-campus residential arts high school and statewide extension programs) and worked extensively in the area of arts and education policy, as well as leading a statewide strategic planning initiative. After leaving state government, Davis served in consulting roles as an interim executive director at a major dance company and charter school, as well as in fundraising at an institute dedicated to jazz great, Dave Brubeck. His earlier career as a free-lance musician in New York City included performing in the American Symphony, and traveling to Atlantic City to back-up artists such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Gladys Knight.
Along with his Jacobs School of Music Appointment, Davis is a Visiting Scholar at IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs and consults with the Indiana State Arts Commission.