Legendary British conductor Sir Colin Davis dies
Tributes for Sir Colin Davis, who served as principal conductor of the London Syphony Orchestra for 11 years, have poured in from all over the world following the news of his death on Sunday aged 85.
Sir Colin Davis, the legendary British conductor and president of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), died on Sunday aged 85 after a short illness.
Born into a musical family on September 25, 1927, Davis was known for his interpretations of Mozart, Sibelius and Berlioz and first conducted the LSO in 1959, becoming its principal conductor from 1995 to 2006 after a fiery start to his career when he was famous for his tantrums.
Over the years Davis mellowed as he worked with leading British musical institutions including the Royal Opera House and the BBC Symphony Orchestra while mentoring students at London’s Royal Academy of Music and Guildhall School.
He also conducted extensively overseas, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1972, as lead conductor of Munich’s Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra 1983-1993 and as principal guest conductor of the New York Philharmonic from 1998-2003.
Awarded a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 1965, Davis was knighted in 1980 after which he affectionately became known simply as "Sir Colin".
Tributes to the internationally-renowned conductor, flooded in from all over the world of classical music as news of his death spread.
On its website, the LSO expressed its "deep sadness".
He "has been at the head of the LSO family for many years. His musicianship and his humanity have been cherished by musicians and audiences alike. Sir Colin's role in British musical life was immense," the LSO said.
Sir Antonio Pappano, music director of the Royal Opera House in London, described Sir Colin’s loss as "a huge blow."
"We had future plans with him in place but more importantly, his passing represents an end of an era, where grit, toil, vision and energy were the defining elements of a leading international opera house," he said.
"The warmth and excitement of his music-making will be terribly missed. He was a giant. A very sad moment for British music."
Outside Britain, Davis was also principal guest conductor of Dresden Staatskapelle, which eventually named him their first-ever honorary conductor in 1990.
The Dresden orchestra, currently on a tour of the United States under its current chief conductor Christian Thielemann, issued a statement describing "Sir Colin" as an "immensely loveable and completely unpretentious person whose warm-heartedness immediately won everyone over."
The orchestra said it would dedicate its two final concerts in New York's Carnegie Hall this week to Davis's memory.
(FRANCE 24 with wires)