Tansy Davies was born in Bristol. In 1996 she was a BBC Young Composer, and subsequently studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and at Royal Holloway College. She rose to prominence on the British scene with a sequence of ensemble works for the Composers Ensemble (Patterning, recorded by NMC), the London Sinfonietta (Torsion) and the Brunel Ensemble (The Void in this Colour), all of which bear the hallmarks of her apprenticeship under Simon Bainbridge and Simon Holt.
In her recent work, Davies has found an accommodation between the worlds of the avant-garde and experimental rock, between - in the words of one critic - Xenakis and Prince. Filled with sounds of cracking, slapping, whipping and scraping, it is music that is utterly contemporary, inhabiting the same urban landscape as industrial techno and electronica. And while Davies is similarly fascinated by the potential of looping as a structural device (as in neon), there is none of the formal predictability of much commercial dance music. Rather, the skewed proportions of works such as her LSO commission Tilting attest to her keen interest in applying structural principles found in the natural world, or the work of architect Zaha Hadid.
Davies has been commissioned by world class ensembles including the London Sinfonietta, the Britten Sinfonia, the CBSO Youth Orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia, BIT 20, the Northern Sinfonia, a large-scale multi-media work - Elephant and Castle - for the 2007 Aldeburgh Festival, the BBC Concert Orchestra as part of their of their Discovering Music series on Radio 3, and a large scale piece for the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Wild Card, for the Proms in 2010. Her work is performed internationally by groups including the Cantus Ensemble, Musiques Nouvelles, the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and the Plovdiv Philharmonic at WMD/ISCM 2011 in Zagreb. In 2009 she received a Paul Hamlyn Award.
In 2010 the critically acclaimed As with Voices and with Tears, a requiem for choir, string orchestra and electronics, was performed to commemorate Remembrance Sunday in Portsmouth Cathedral, with the London Mozart Players; it was nominated for the South Bank Show / Sky Arts Award. In 2011 her album Troubairitz was released on Nonclassical; she also collaborated with Norwegian choreographer Ingun Bjørnsgaard on dance project Omega and the Deer, which toured to Oslo, Berlin, Potsdam, Hamburg and New York. Later that year her carol, Christmas Eve, was performed at the Festival of Nine Lesson and Carols in King's College Cambridge and broadcast around the world. Her piano concerto, Nature, was premiered in 2012 by Huw Watkins with BCMG.