Britain's Queen Elizabeth presents the Queen's Medal for Music to conductor Colin Davis at Mansion House, in London December 8, 2009. The Queen visited Mansion House to listen to a performance by the London Symphony Orchestra. (Photo : REUTERS/Chris Jackson/Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY ROYALS))
The Internationally renowned British Conductor Sir Colin Davis has passed at the age of 85 after suffering from a brief illness.
Davis served as the conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra from 1995 until 2006. He later served as President of the organization starting in 2007. His long standing relationship with the orchestra started in 1959 when he conducted as a guest conductor. During his time with the orchestra he was able to conduct their first world tour as well as lead series and cycles of Bruckner, Elgar, Beethoven and Brahms. Davis was also credited with starting a new recording label for the orchestra called LSO Live.
Aside from his work with the LSO, Davis also had a relationship with the Royal Opera House for which he served as the Principal Conductor, the English Chamber Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He also worked with the Bavarian Radio Symphony and served as Guest Conductor with the New York Philharmonic.
He was best known as the most important exponent of Berlioz's music. His recording of the composer's "Les Troyens" won a Grammy award and he lead the LSO in a series of programs of Berlioz's music. He was also known for his interpretations of Mozart, Sibelius and the operatic repertoire including Wagner's "Tannhauser," and Verdi's "Falstaff."
Davis also introduced numerous contemporary works by Michael Tippet and James McMillan.
Born in Surrey, Britain, in 1927, Davis first studied the clarinet but eventually turned his attention toward the podium. His first major conducting appointment was as assistant conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony in 1957. In 1980 he was Knighted and appointed Companions of Honour in 2001.
Throughout his life he remained true to his Musical credo which was "If people are musical and want to play, they will share this thing with you. I don't know why or how it happens."
After the death of the conductor, LSO placed a statement on their website. They said "He will be remembered with huge affection and admiration by the LSO [London Symphony Orchestra] and our thoughts are with his family at this time."