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Sir Andrew Davis, 1944-2024

Remembering our former Music Director

We are very sad to hear that the world-renowned conductor and former Glyndebourne Music Director Sir Andrew Davis has died.

Davis’ fierce intelligence and uncompromising attention to detail were wrapped in a warmth and wit that made him much-loved with both audiences and artists. Above all, he had an extraordinary connection with music – and an incredibly diverse repertoire – that made him one of the greatest conductors of his generation.

Gus Christie, Glyndebourne’s Executive Chairman, said: ‘Andrew first conducted here when I was nine years old and the last opera he conducted was 40 years later. It was always a pleasure having him around and he was a wonderful Music Director during the 1990s over the period of the rebuild. Passionate, funny, loyal and multi talented, he was a very big part of the Glyndebourne family.’

Sir Andrew Davis made his Glyndebourne debut in 1973, conducting Richard Strauss’ Capriccio. After conducting a varied range of repertoire in the 1970s and 1980s, he became Glyndebourne Music Director in 1989. He held the position until 2000, overseeing one of the most significant periods in Glyndebourne’s history, with the construction of the new opera house which opened in 1994. In partnership with Director of Productions Graham Vick, he spearheaded a diverse and carefully considered programme of opera, including insightful and vibrant interpretations of familiar favourites, paired with rediscoveries of lesser known works. He is treasured for his cycles of works by Mozart, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Rossini and Janáček. He also found new audiences for ‘difficult’ 20th-century repertoire such as Berg’s Lulu.

Most recently, he conducted the two of Glyndebourne’s 21st century triumphs, the highly acclaimed Rusalka (2011) and Billy Budd (2013).

Away from Glyndebourne, Davis held roles at many of the leading orchestras in the world, including chief conductor at the BBC Symphony Orchestra, leading the Last Night of the Proms 12 times.

Sir Andrew Davis left an indelible mark on Glyndebourne and he will be greatly missed.

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