Sir Andrew Davis

Sir Andrew Davis has served as music director and principal conductor of Lyric Opera of Chicago since 2000. His contract with Lyric Opera was recently extended through the 2020-2021 season. In January 2013 Sir Andrew began his tenure as chief conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. He is also conductor laureate of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (having previously served as principal conductor), conductor laureate of the BBC Symphony Orchestra (his tenure as that ensemble’s chief conductor was the longest since that of its founder Sir Adrian Boult) and former music director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera.


The English conductor begins his 2013-14 season with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, leading the Verdi Requiem as well as two concerts including works of Tippett, Mozart, Britten, and Elgar. He will then return to Lyric Opera for the company’s new production of Parsifal, the first of three operas he will lead for the company -- the others are Rusalka (company premiere in February) and La clemenza di Tito (March).  Autumn also includes a tour to the Far East with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Other season highlights include Massenet’s Cendrillon (Barcelona), appearances with New York Philharmonic and the Toronto, Montreal, and Boston symphony orchestras, as well as a return to the BBCSO for concerts and London. May brings Sir Andrew to the Leipzig Gewandhaus, prior to two important engagements leading works of Elgar: King Olaf with the Bergen Philharmonic and The Dream of Gerontius with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. Maestro Davis then returns to Melbourne for a Strauss-Mahler program, and in mid-July he opens the BBC Proms with another imposing Elgar work, The Kingdom. He ends the season with Britten’s War Requiem, leading the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Edinburgh Festival.


During the 2012-2013 Lyric Opera season Sir Andrew led four works: Elektra, Simon Boccanegra, Werther, and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Other American and European engagements included appearances with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu (Rusalka), BBC Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic, Orchestre de l'Opéra de la Bastille, and Glyndebourne Festival Opera (Billy Budd). Additionally, Sir Andrew spent several weeks recording for Chandos Records.


The 2011-12 season was a similarly busy one for Sir Andrew, including Lyric Opera performances of Boris Godunov, Ariadne auf Naxos, and Die Zauberflöte, as well as the company’s Subscriber Appreciation Concert featuring Renée Fleming (Lyric’s creative consultant) and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. He returned to the Metropolitan Opera for Don Giovanni, and also led a double bill of Zemlinsky’s Eine florentinische Tragödie and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi at the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto. 2011-12 also saw Maestro Davis on the podium with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, and the leading orchestras of Rotterdam, Bergen and Bamberg. He finished the  summer with performances of Arabella at The Santa Fe Opera and Delius’s A Mass of Life for the opening of the Edinburgh Festival.


In addition to the BBC Symphony Orchestra (with which Maestro Davis has appeared at the Proms and on tour to Hong Kong, Japan, the U.S., and Europe) and the ensembles previously mentioned, he has led performances of the Berlin Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw, and every other internationally prominent orchestra. He has also triumphed not only at Lyric Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, and Glyndebourne Festival Opera, but also at La Scala and the Bayreuth Festival.

Maestro Davis has documented his artistry in a massive discography on the Chandos, Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Warner Classics International, Capriccio, EMI, and CBS labels, among others. Sir Andrew currently records for Chandos Records, where he has been an exclusive artist since 2009.


Sir Andrew’s recording of York Bowen’s Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2 was nominated for a 2011 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance. In 2008 the Onyx Classics label released Elgar’s Violin Concertos, a collaboration between Sir Andrew, James Ehnes, and the Philharmonia Orchestra. This recording earned the coveted Gramophone  “Best of Category – Concerto” Award). Recordings in 2007 included Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with Min-Jyn Kim and the Philharmonia Orchestra (Sony); a solo recital of operatic favorites sung by soprano Nicole Cabell with the London Philharmonic Orchestra (Decca), which won the 2008 Solti Prize from the French Académie du Disque Lyrique; and Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Yundi Li and the Philharmonia Orchestra (Deutsche Grammophon).


In 1992, Maestro Davis was created a Commander of the British Empire for his services to British music. Seven years later he was made a Knight Bachelor in the New Year Honours List. He was honored in 1991with the Royal Philharmonic Society/Charles Heidsieck Music Award.  He received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, in 2012.

Born in 1944 in Hertfordshire, England, Davis studied at King’s College, Cambridge, where he was an organ scholar before taking up the baton. He rapidly developed an exceptionally diverse repertoire. In addition to his outstanding affinity for the gamut of “core” symphonic and operatic music, Sir Andrew is acknowledged internationally as an extraordinary proponent of twentieth-century works including those by Janáček, Messiaen, Boulez, Elgar, Tippett, and Britten.

Maestro Davis and his wife, soprano Gianna Rolandi, reside in Chicago with their dog, Winnie (the Poodle).