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Sir Colin Davis
Birth: Sep. 25, 1927
Weybridge
Surrey, England
Death: Apr. 14, 2013
London
Greater London, England

Conductor. A prolific artist who always tried to get to the bottom of a score and was particularly renowned for presenting the works of Mozart, Schubert, Stravinsky, Sibelius, Brahms, Berlioz, and Elgar, he shall perhaps be best remembered for his tenure as maestro of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO). The child of a large family, he was exposed to music at a young age and early-on decided to become a conductor. Trained in clarinet at the Royal College of Music where he was not admitted to the conducting class due to his inability to play the piano, he served as a clarinetist in the Household Cavalry band during the late 1940s. After mustering out of the Army in 1949 Davis spent the next seven years as a freelance conductor; a promising job with the Original Ballet Russe that he took in 1952 ended after three months when the company folded but he was to lead well received performances with the Kalmar Orchestra and the Chelsea Opera Group while lecturing at Cambridge. Appointed assistant music director of the BBC Scottish Orchestra in 1957, he took over the top spot in 1959 and that same year received his big break when he filled in for an ailing Otto Klemperer in performances of Mozart's "Don Giovanni" at the Royal Festival Hall. The year of 1960 saw him achieve a number of milestones as he made his conducting bow at Glyndebourne, where he had previously played clarinet, with Mozart's "The Magic Flute", had his initial BBC Proms appearance, and was appointed chief conductor of Sadler's Wells Opera. Named Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1965, he became music director of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1967 then in 1971 was chosen to succeed Sir Georg Solti on the podium of the Royal Opera. Davis' Covent Garden years were not without controversy; he was booed during performances of "Don Giovanni" and of Wagner's "Tannhauser" while his presentation of Wagner's "Ring Cycle" drew criticism for years, but along the way he came to be respected as the world's premier interpreter of Hector Berlioz. Well regarded in Amsterdam and other European venues, he bowed at the Metropolitan Opera in 1969, served as Principal Guest Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1972 until 1974, and in 1977 became the first Englishman to conduct at Wagner's Bayreuth Festival. Principal Guest Conductor of the New York Philharmonic between 1998 and 2003, he was Knighted KBE in 1980, was music director of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1983 until 1993, officially left Covent Garden in 1986, and also in 1986 had his debut with the Vienna State Opera. Appointed music director of the LSO, a position for which he had been considered in the mid 1960s, in 1995, he proved immensely popular with both audiences and critics and cemented his reputation as a conductor of such modern British composers as Tippett, Walton, Britten, and Elgar as well as of the 'old masters', over time becoming a revered 'grand old man' of the music world. In 2002 Sir Colin captured a Grammy Award and a Classical Brit Award for his recording of Berlioz' "The Trojans" then in 2006 he added another Grammy for his reading of Verdi's "Falstaff". He retired as maestro of the LSO in 2006 but became the ensemble's President in 2007 and kept conducting as long as he was able. Sir Colin's honors were many as he was designated Companion of Honour (CH) in 2001, over the years received recognition from France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, and Finland, and in 2009 was bestowed the Queen's Medal for Music. He conducted in New York as late as 2010, though he was said to look 'a little frail', and died after a short illness leaving a massive recorded legacy dating from 1957 until virtually the end of his life. Of his approach to his art he said: "If people are musical and want to play they will share this thing with you. I don't know why or how it happens". (bio by: Bob Hufford) 
 
Burial:
Unknown
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
Record added: Apr 14, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 108478670
Sir Colin Davis
Added by: Harmonie Autographs and Music, Inc.
 
Sir Colin Davis
Added by: Lucy Caldarelli
 
Sir Colin Davis
Added by: Lucy Caldarelli
 
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A Happy 87th Birthday for a great musician
- David Wend
 Added: Sep. 25, 2014
Forever enriched by your performances- Peter Grimes, Grand Masse des Morts, Cosi Fan Tutti, Haydn 99 and 102, Beethoven 2 and 4, Sibelius 4 and 7... Will always cherish hearing you conduct Zauberflote with the Royal Opera Company in Los Angeles in 1984. ...(Read more)
-Anonymous
 Added: Oct. 14, 2013

- Christiane Gomes
 Added: Sep. 25, 2013
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