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Andrew Davis (conductor): Wikis


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Sir Andrew Frank Davis[1] CBE (born 2 February 1944, Ashridge, Hertfordshire) is a British conductor.


Born to Robert J. Davis and his wife Florence J. nee Badminton, Davis grew up in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, and in Watford.[2] Davis attended Watford Boys' Grammar School, where he studied classics in his sixth form years and the Junior Royal Academy of Music.[3] His adolescent musical work included playing the organ at the Palace Theatre, Watford.[2] Davis studied at the Royal College of Music, King's College, Cambridge where he was an Organ Scholar, graduating in 1967. He later studied conducting in Rome with Franco Ferrara.

Davis's first major post was as associate conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, beginning in 1970. In 1975, he took the job of principal conductor with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He stepped down in 1988, but has remained close to the orchestra as its Conductor Laureate.

In 1988, Davis became music director at Glyndebourne, where he met the American soprano Gianna Rolandi, whom he later married. Davis concluded his Glyndebourne tenure in 2000. In 1989, Sir John Drummond appointed Davis as chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra (BBC SO).[4] During his BBC SO tenure, Davis restored the tradition established by Malcolm Sargent of the chief conductor of the BBC SO conducting the Last Night of The Proms. He was noted for his humorous Last Night speeches, including giving two speeches after the Major General's patter song from The Pirates of Penzance[2][5], but he also more seriously addressed the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales, Mother Teresa, and Sir Georg Solti in his 1997 Last Night speech.[6] Davis stepped down as the BBC SO's chief conductor in 2000 and now holds the title of conductor laureate of the BBC SO.

In May 1992, Davis was appointed CBE and in January 1999, he was appointed Knight Bachelor in the New Year Honours List. In 2002, he conducted the Prom at the Palace concert, held in the gardens of Buckingham Palace as part of the celebrations for the Queen's Golden Jubilee.

Davis became the music director and principal conductor of the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2000. His work in Chicago has included his first conducting of the Ring cycle of Richard Wagner in 2005[7] and the first Chicago production of Michael Tippett's The Midsummer Marriage[8]. In 2005, he took on the post of Music Advisor to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, for a designated three-year period. In September 2006, Davis announced that he would relinquish this position with Pittsburgh after the 2007-2008 season.[9] In October 2007, Davis and the orchestra mutually agreed to terminate his contract early and for him not to conduct his scheduled Pittsburgh Symphony concerts in the 2007-2008 season, because of increased demands on Davis' schedule.[10]

Davis has performed quite a wide range of repertoire, though his support of contemporary British music is of particular note. He is particularly associated with Michael Tippett[11], including the British premiere of his work The Mask of Time. Davis has recorded for a number of labels, including NMC Recordings, Teldec and Deutsche Grammophon.[12] He has also made a critically acclaimed recording of Harrison Birtwistle's opera, The Mask of Orpheus.

Sir Andrew and Lady Davis live in Chicago. Their son, Edward (born 1989), attends Knox College.


  1. ^ International Who's Who in Classical Music, Europa Publications Limited (2003; ISBN 1 85743 174X), p. 176.
  2. ^ a b c John Walsh (1997-09-13). "Conductor of hope and glory". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-09-07.  
  3. ^ "APOLLO, Academy timeline". Retrieved 2009-10-14.  
  4. ^ Humphrey Burton (2006-09-08). "Obituary: Sir John Drummond". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-09-07.  
  5. ^ Cannadine, David (May 2008). "The 'Last Night of the Proms' in historical perspective". Historical Research 81 (212): 315-349. Retrieved 2009-09-07.  
  6. ^ Robert Cowan/Edward Seckerson (1997-09-15). "Last Saturday saw the Last Night of the Proms and the first night of the Royal Opera's exile at the Barbican. Robert Cowan and Edward Seckerson were at the respective venues...". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-09-07.  
  7. ^ Martin Kettle (2005-04-07). "Der Ring des Nibelungen (Lyric Opera, Chicago)". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-09-07.  
  8. ^ Matthew Westwood (2009-08-21). "Davis's baton change". The Australian.,,25957499-16947,00.html. Retrieved 2009-09-07.  
  9. ^ Andrew Druckenbrod (2006-09-29). "Future succession to keep PSO busy". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2007-04-28.  
  10. ^ Andrew Druckenbrod (2007-10-27). "Davis backs out of PSO concerts". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2007-10-27.  
  11. ^ Cairns, David (March 1998). "Images of beauty: Michael Tippett 1905–1998". The Musical Times 139 (1861): 4-5. Retrieved 2009-09-07.  
  12. ^ Tim Ashley (2007-02-23). "Chopin: Piano Concerto No 1; Liszt: Piano Concerto No 1, Li/ Philharmonia/ Davis". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-09-07.  

External links

Preceded by
Bernard Haitink
Music Director, Glyndebourne Opera Festival
Succeeded by
Vladimir Jurowski
Preceded by
Gennadi Rozhdestvensky
Principal Conductor, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
1995–1998 (with Paavo Järvi)
Succeeded by
Alan Gilbert
Preceded by
Bruno Bartoletti
Music Director, Lyric Opera of Chicago
Succeeded by


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