“His view of Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 in F Major, which opened the program, could not have been more radiant. He led without a baton, emphasizing the lyrical quality of this music. His sense of joy was evident from the opening. There was a clarity to his direction that allowed each inner theme and orchestral solo to emerge, and each musical phrase to breathe.”
“Conducting the fourth opera of his Lyric podium marathon this fall, Davis summons incisive playing from his well-prepared orchestra and full-blooded singing from director Michael Black’s finely disciplined chorus.”
“Andrew Davis’s gloriously pliant conducting evinces total conviction”
“While Chicago audiences know Davis primarily for his Lyric Opera work, the conductor is often just as inspired in orchestral programs. Such was the case here, with Davis drawing resplendent, multihued playing from the CSO musicians.”
Chicago Classical Review
One of today’s most recognized and acclaimed conductors, Sir Andrew Davis’s career spans over fifty years in which he has been the artistic leader at several of the world’s most distinguished opera and symphonic institutions, including Lyric Opera of Chicago (Music Director Emeritus and Music Director/Principal Conductor from 2000-2021), the BBC Symphony Orchestra (Conductor Laureate and Chief Conductor from 1989-2000, the longest tenure since that of its founder Sir Adrian Boult), Glyndebourne Festival Opera (Music Director 1988-2000), Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (Conductor Laureate and Chief Conductor from 2013-2019), and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (Conductor Laureate and Principal Conductor from 1975-1988), where he also served as Interim Artistic Director through 2020. In addition, he holds the honorary title of Conductor Emeritus from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Sir Andrew has led performances at many of the world’s most important opera houses, among them the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, Bayreuth Festival, and the major companies of Munich, Paris, San Francisco, and Santa Fe. In addition to those ensembles, he has appeared with virtually every other internationally prominent orchestra, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, and all the major British orchestras.
In the 2022/23 season, Sir Andrew conducts his own adaptation of Handel’s Messiah with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. The season also sees a return to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where he leads a production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. Other engagements include the Minnesota Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and Detroit Opera.
A vast and award-winning discography documents Sir Andrew’s artistry. 2022 saw the release of his recording of Berg’s Violin Concerto/Three Pieces for Orchestra with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, which includes Sir Andrew’s orchestrations of Piano Sonata, Op. 1 and Passacaglia, as well as his recording of orchestral works of Carl Vine with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (winner of the 2022 ARIA award for Best Classical Album). Other recent titles include the works of Berlioz, Bliss, Elgar (winner of the 2018 Diapason d’Or de l’Année – Musique Symphonique), Finzi, Goossens, Grainger, Delius, Ives, Holst, Handel (nominated for a GRAMMY in 2018 for Best Choral Performance), Massenet (winner of the 2021 JUNO Award for Best Classical Album: Vocal or Choral), and York Bowen (nominated for a GRAMMY in 2012 for Best Orchestral Performance). His lauded recordings with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus celebrating British composers from Teldec’s The British Line series was recently released as a 16-CD retrospective collection by Warner Classics. Sir Andrew currently records for Chandos Records, where he has been an exclusive artist since 2009.
Born in 1944 in Hertfordshire, England, Maestro Davis studied at King’s College, Cambridge, where he was Organ Scholar before taking up conducting. His diverse repertoire ranges from Baroque to contemporary, and spans the symphonic, operatic, and choral worlds. Sir Andrew is a great proponent of twentieth-century works including those by Janáček, Messiaen, Boulez, Elgar, Tippett, and Britten, in addition to the core symphonic and operatic works. As chief conductor, Sir Andrew has always participated in the creation and premieres of new repertoire and new compositions, personally conducting a great number of them.
In 1992, Maestro Davis was created a Commander of the British Empire, and in 1999 he was designated a Knight Bachelor in the New Year Honours List. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.