Celebrated conductor Sir Colin Davis has died at the age of 85, according to a statement released by the London Symphony Orchestra on Sunday.
Davis, born in Surrey, made his debut with London’s orchestra in 1959 and was its longest-serving principal director. He was born in Weybridge in 1927 and studied clarinet at the Royal College of Music.
During his time in the military, Sir Colin played in the band of the Household Cavalry. After this, he started his conducting career with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in 1957 as assistant conductor. He then moved to Sadlers Wells in 1959 to become the principal conductor. He was later moved to musical director.
Sir Colin Davis was the principal conductor of the LSO from 1995 until 2006 and became the organization’s president in 2007. He also served as principal guest conductor with the Boston Symphonic Orchestra and New York Philharmonic.
Davis was knighted in 1980 and was also awarded international honors by Denmark, Italy, France, Germany, and Finland. The conductor became a Champion of Honour in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2001 and also received The Queen’s Medal for Music in December 2009.
While his conducting career was a huge success, Sir Colin Davis was perhaps best known for his interpretations of Mozart, Berlioz, and Sibelius. He was twice named Classic Brit Male Artist of the Year. He also received two Grammy awards, the Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal, and a Gramophone award. The LSO released a statement about Davis’ passing, saying:
“He will be remembered with huge affection and admiration by the LSO and our thoughts are with his family at this time. Sir Colin’s role in British musical life was immense … music lovers across the world have been inspired by his performances and recordings.”
In addition to his work as a conductor, Davis also mentored young musicians at the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School. Sir Colin Davis passed away on Sunday after a brief illnes. No word was given on funeral arrangements for the former conductor.