Donna Fairbanks received a Doctor of Musical Arts in Violin Performance from the University of Arizona, a Master of Music from the Eastman School of Music, and a Bachelor of Music from Brigham Young University, with additional conservatory studies at the University of Missouri Kansas City and the University of Cincinnati. She studied with Zvi Zeitlin, Varujan Kojan, William Harroutonian, Tiberius Klausner, Percy Kalt, John Ferrell, John Lambros, and Howard Beebe. She received chamber coaching from members of the Cleveland Quartet and the legendary violist William Primrose. She also performed and participated in master classes with Joseph Silverstein, Sylvia Rosenberg, and Dorothy Delay.
She has given solo performances with several orchestras including the Orquestra Sinfônica de Londrina (Brazil), Utah Symphony, Charleston Symphony, Sun Valley Festival Orchestra, Utah Valley Symphony, as well as numerous collegiate and youth orchestras. Among her competition successes are the Kansas City Philharmonic Competition for Young Artists, the Cincinnati Conservatory Congress of Strings Competition, and the Utah Symphony Competition for Young Artists. She has presented masterclasses and recitals in Europe, China, Mexico, Brazil, and throughout the United States. Notable venues include the Teatro Ouro Verde in Brazil, the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, the Cyrus Dallin Museum in Boston, the Rotterdam Conservatory in the Netherlands, the Schumann in Zwickau Festival in Germany, the Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest, the Ghent Festival in Belgium, the Hagibor Center in Prague, the Universities of Valladolid and Córdoba in Spain, and the Universities of Nanjing, Shanzi, and Huazhong in China.
Dr. Fairbanks has been a member of several chamber ensembles including the Aurora Duo with harpist Lysa Rytting, the Escalante Trio with pianist Jeffrey Shumway and cellist Nicole Jackson, and the Atma Quartet with violinist Blanka Bednarz, violist Elizabeth Wallace, and cellist Cheung Chau. As a member of the Aurora Duo with harpist Lysa Rytting, she has recorded CDs with MSR Classics, 4TAY Records, and Tantara Records. These CDs have received widespread acclaim, featured on dozens of classical music radio stations throughout the country, including WNYC New York City, WFMT Chicago, WPRB Princeton, WQED Pittsburgh, WSHU Connecticut, WFSU Florida, the Minnesota and Wisconsin Public Radio Networks, and the Beethoven Satellite Network. In particular, WNYC New York City and WGBH Boston devoted special programs with commentary to selections from her CDs.
Since her appointment as Chair of the Department of Music in 2010, Dr. Fairbanks has overseen dramatic expansion of the department in terms of faculty, students, degree programs, and regional, national, and international prominence. She led the effort to obtain accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and oversaw implementation of two Bachelor of Music programs in Performance and Commercial Music. In 2010 she received the Dean's Faculty Award of Excellence, and in 2014 she received the Board of Trustees Award of Excellence, the highest recognition awarded by UVU. In 2014 she also received a Presidential Fellowship for Faculty Scholarship in support of a Violin & Guitar recording project currently in progress.
Dr. Fairbanks is a Presser Scholar, member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, and Magna Cum Laude Graduate. She currently serves as Music Department Chair and Violin & Viola Area Coordinator at Utah Valley University. Her students have excelled as performers and educators, with accomplishments including competition winners, entrance to prestigious graduate programs, and K-12 and collegiate faculty positions. She is actively involved in the American String Teachers Association, having served as president of the Utah Chapter. Her previous faculty positions include the University of Minnesota MacPhail Center for the Arts, Brigham Young University School of Music, and the Universidade Estadual de Londrina in Brazil.