Born in Bristol in 1973, her artistic personality has been influenced both by classical avant-garde and experimental rock (which places her work, as The Guardian suggests, "between Prince and Xenakis"), but also by the world of nature, industrial techno, and the controversial designs of the Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid.
After studies in horn and composition at Colchester Institute, she was a freelance instrumentalist in various orchestras and rock bands. At the same time she continued her music education under Simon Bainbridge at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and later with Simon Holt at the Royal Holloway College in London, where she obtained a PhD. Currently she is a composer-in-residence at Royal Holloway.
She has received prestigious commissions notably from the London Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, BBC (for BBC Scottish Symphony), Composers Ensemble, Brunel Ensemble, Britten Sinfonia, CBSO Youth Orchestra, Norwegian BIT20 Ensemble, and Aldeburgh Festival (2007). Her music has been performed by eminent conductors such as Zsolt Nagy and Thomas Adès; the former conducted and recorded her Tilting (2006), while the latter led the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group in the world premiere of her Falling Angel, commissioned by the Parisian festival Présences (2007).
Her compositions have also been presented at other major events, such as Aldeburgh Festival (2007, Elephant and Castle, a large-scale multimedia work) and BBC Proms (2010, Wild Card for orchestra; 2013, Beginning of the World for chamber orchestra). In 2010 her As with Voices and with Tears for choir, string orchestra and electronics was premiered to critical acclaim, and nominated for the South Bank Show / Sky Arts Award 2011. Critics also praised the album Troubairitz dedicated to her works, released by Nonclassical. Tansy Davies cooperated with the Norwegian choreographer Ingun Bjørnsgaard on Omega and the Deer, a dance project presented in Oslo, Berlin, Potsdam, Hamburg, and New York. 2012 saw the premieres of two new works: a piano concerto, Nature, and a wind nonet, Delphic Bee, as well as the release of her second CD on the NMC label. Her first opera Between Worlds, based on a libretto by Nick Drake about the attack on the World Trade Center, was staged at the English National Opera in 2015 directed by Deborah Warner.
Selected works: Gin Trap for chamber ensemble (2001), Loopholes and Lynchpins for piano (2001), Arabescas for oboe and piano (2002), Inside Out I for trumpet, two electric guitars, Hammond organ, clavichord and double bass (2002), Fern for instrumental ensemble (2003), Greenhouses for male voice, soprano saxophone and percussion (2003), make black white for four viols (2004), Residuum for violin, cello and strings (2004), Iris for soprano saxophone and ensemble (2004), Neon for ensemble of seven instruments (2004), Spiral House for trumpet and orchestra (2004, rev. 2006), salt box for instrumental ensemble (2005), Dark Ground for percussion (2005), Tilting for orchestra (2005), Contraband for harpsichord and ensemble (2006), Falling Angel for 17 performers (2006), The Oven in the Underworld for children's choir and piano (2006), grind show for flute, clarinet, prepared and transformed piano, violin, cello, electronics and CD (2007, version for orchestra, 2008), Kingpin for orchestra (2007), Adorned for strings and bass clarinet (2008), Hinterland for chamber ensemble (2008), Rift for orchestra (2008), Forgotten Game 2 for oboe and piano (2009), Static and is Love for tenor and piano (2009), As with Voices and with Tears for choir and strings (2010), Wild Card for orchestra (2010), Christmas Eve for choir (2011) Delphic Bee for wind nonet (2012), Nature for piano and orchestra (2012), Song of Pure Nothingness for voice and keyboard instrument (2013), The Beginning of the World for strings (2013), Between Worlds, opera (2014), Regreening for choir and orchestra (2015), Song of Pure Nothingness for mezzo-soprano / countertenor and piano (2015), Forest, concerto for four horns (2016), Antenoux for ensemble (2017).