PHutures – 100 Alumni Voices »

Zach Gulaboff Davis

“Go into it with an open mind. Don’t go into it with a mindset that, oh, this degree only prepares you for one very narrow career path. Go into it with the mindset that there is so much more you can do beyond just teaching and academia.”

Peabody Institute

Music Composition, DMA 2019

Co-Founder of The Consonance Collective

Zach‘s Podcast Episode

In this episode, we discuss Zach’s academic and professional journey in music composition and how collaboration has been a source of support and inspiration in his role as a freelance composer.

Learn More About Zach‘s Story

As a composer and passionate collaborator, I strive to craft works that center on the expressive and dramatic possibilities of compositional narrative. My compositions have been performed at venues across the globe including Carnegie Hall, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, and New York University Steinhardt and Shanghai, among many others. Through my five-member composer group, the Consonance Collective—co-founded with fellow Peabody alumni Bobby Ge, Seo Yoon Soyoona Kim, Daniel Despins, and Gu Wei—I have partnered with a plethora of organizations ranging from NASA’s Space Science Telescope Institute to the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, engaging with communities worldwide. Since graduation, I have completed residencies at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Hambidge Center, Brevard Institute, Bowdoin International Music Festival, and Canada’s Arcady Ensemble, most recently serving as the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Creative Fellow for Composition at Millay Arts. I find great joy in the process of composing, constantly endeavoring to refine and innovate with each new collaboration.

Photo credit: Phil Weaver

I have been involved in American Kennel Club (AKC) dog sports for over two decades as both a competitor, and since 2016, dog agility judge. Just like music, dog agility occupies a unique place at the juncture of career and lifelong passion, and I could not be more fortunate to be involved in this sport in such a meaningful way. I have officiated at events nationally including the Northeast National Championship Finals and the AKC Agility Invitational, maintaining a busy travel schedule judging 30-40 AKC events yearly. Aside from assessing the performance of a dog on course through preset metrics, one of my favorite aspects of dog agility is course design. For each assignment I judge, I might be tasked with designing between 20-30 courses, each uniquely suited to a specific level or class. Similar to composing, this process is engaging, combining a dose of artistry with mathematical precision, yielding a final product that should be enjoyable for teams to run, possessing a sense of flow and rhythm throughout. I’ve had the privilege of witnessing dog and handler teams across the country bond through this wonderful sport, and could not be more fortunate to have a front-row seat as the sport evolves to new heights.

Photo credit: Alex Yucheng Zhang