More Notables of St. Joseph

The Music Scene

Katherine K. Davis

Katherine K. Davis, composer, pianist, and author of the Christmas tune "Little Drummer Boy."
Born in St. Joseph, Mo., on June 25, 1892, Davis took her first piano
lesson as a first grader. She composed her first piece of music, "Shadow March," at the age of 15.
Accompanied by her younger brother, who played violin, Davis
played "anything and everything" she could get her hands on. One of
her favorites was the score for "Madame Butterfly," a copy of which
her father brought home as a souvenir from a business trip. She
eventually composed seven operas.

Davis graduated from St. Joseph High School in 1910. She entered
Wellesley College planning to major in literature, but became a music
major and before her junior year won the Billings Prize for Musical
Composition. Following her graduation, she stayed on as an assistant
in the Music Department at Wellesley, teaching theory and piano.
Concurrently, she studied at the New England Conservatory of Music. During a stay in France,
Davis was taught by the preeminent conductor and teacher, Nadia Boulanger.

Davis taught music at the Concord Academy in Concord, Mass., and at the Shady Hill School
for Girls, in Philadelphia. She observed that there was a lack of music appropriate for girls'
choruses, as well as for other choirs comprised primarily of untrained singers. Many of the more
than 600 works that Davis composed were developed with an eye toward fulfilling that need.
While in Concord, she studied choral music with classical composer Thomas Whitney Surette.

Katherine K. Davis

Davis's most famous composition, "Little Drummer Boy"
(originally titled "The Carol of the Drum"), which she wrote in
1941, came to her while she was "...trying to take a nap." The
words "...practically wrote themselves," she said. The song
became famous when it was recorded by the Trapp Family
Singers. Davis later quipped that it "...had been done to death on
radio and TV."

She was a member of the American Society of Composers,
Authors and Publishers
and was granted an honorary doctorate
from Stetson University, in DeLand, Fla.

She left all 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. These funds are used to support musical-instrument instruction.

Katherine K. Davis continued writing music until she became ill in the winter of 1979-1980. She
died on April 20, 1980, at the age of 88, in Littleton, Mass.

Written by Mur Wolf

Click here to go to the Wellesley College site where the original text appears.


Anthony with “L'Antonella,” guitar built by Johann Georg Staufer, Vienna, 
  ca. 1828

Born in St. Joseph, Missouri,
Anthony Glise is the only
American-born guitarist to win
First Prize at the International
Toscanini Competition (Italy).

Anthony is a product of the
Konservatorium der Stadt
(Vienna) and the New England
Conservatory (Boston) with
additional study at Harvard,
Université Catholique de Lille
(France) and the Accademia di
Studi Superiori "L'Ottocento" (Italy).

A Pulitzer Prize Nominee for composition, Anthony has performed and has been
awarded diplomas at such festivals as Festival des Artes (Hautecombe, France),
Festival Ville Sable (France), ARCUM (Rome) and the Nemzetközi Gitárfesztivál
(Hungary).

In addition to traditional classical repertoire, concerts often include 19th-Century
works performed on a priceless 1828 Johann Georg Staufer Viennese guitar.
Anthony's commitment to the art has led to many diversified activities. His writings
have been published extensively in The Soundboard (US), Guitar International
(England), Gitarre und Laute (Germany), etc. He has acted as an Artist-in-
Residence and Touring Artist for a number of US state arts councils and similar
European programs. He is also the editor of the internationally-acclaimed series of
guitar music and books, "The Anthony Glise Editions," published by Willis Music
Company and "The Anthony Glise Urtext Editions" by Mel Bay Publications.

An active composer, Anthony's original compositions have been premiered in such
cities as New York, Chicago, Rome, Vienna, Lille (France) and Esztergom
(Hungary).

His recordings include traditional works (solo, chamber, orchestral and ballet) as
well as original compositions for such labels as Éclipse (France), Young Recording
Artists (USA) and Dorian Recordings (US). His first album, Overview, was chosen
as one of the year's "Top-5 Classical Releases" by Vienna Life Magazine.

Anthony lectures at the Academy for the Study of 19th-Century Music (Italy),
and when not on tour, he lives and teaches part-time in the Flanders region of
Northern France and part-time in the Black Forest region of Germany.

Click here to visit Anthony's website.