Music Director & Principal Conductor

Sir Andrew Davis has served as music director and principal conductor of Lyric Opera of Chicago since 2000. Since his debut engagement here in the 1987/88 season, he has led 674 opera performances plus nine special concerts at Lyric, and the majority of Lyric’s free concerts in Millennium Park, as of September 2019. The vast repertoire that he has led at Lyric encompasses operas by Berg, Berlioz, Bizet, Britten, Dvořák, Gilbert and Sullivan, Gounod, Janáček, Lehár, López, Massenet, Mozart, Mussorgsky, Poulenc, Puccini, Rossini, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Wagner, and Weinberg.

During the 2019/20 season, Sir Andrew will conduct six operas at Lyric: Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, and the four operas of Wagner’s Ring cycle (Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung). This season also includes concerts with Toronto Symphony Orchestra (Massenet’s Thaïs and other works), Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra (Handel’s Messiah in Sir Andrew’s own orchestration), and Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Tippett and Beethoven)

Since January 2013 Maestro Davis has served as chief conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in January 2013. As of December 2019 he will continue his artistic role there as conductor laureate. 

Among his major achievements in the 2018/19 season were performances of Idomeneo, a new production of Siegfried, and the company premiere of Cendrillon at Lyric Opera;  performances of Duruflé’s Requiem with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Götterdämmerung at Edinburgh International Festival (with several of the artists starring in Lyric’s Ring), and Elgar’s The Music Makers at the BBC Proms.

Through his prolific recordings, his many international tours, and his guest appearances and relationships with several of the finest orchestras and opera companies in Europe, North America, and Australia, Sir Andrew is one of today's most recognized and acclaimed conductors.

Maestro Davis's career spans four-plus decades, during which he has been the artistic leader at several of the world's most distinguished opera and symphonic institutions, including the BBC Symphony Orchestra (conductor laureate and chief conductor, 1991-2004, the longest tenure since that of its founder Sir Adrian Boult), Glyndebourne Festival Opera (music director, 1988-2000), and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (conductor laureate and principal conductor, 1975-1988), where he serves as interim artistic director through 2020. In addition, he holds the honorary title of conductor emeritus from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. 

Sir Andrew has led performances at many of the world's most important opera houses, among them the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, Bayreuth Festival, and the major companies of Munich, Paris, San Francisco, and Santa Fe. In addition to those ensembles, he has appeared with virtually every other internationally prominent orchestra, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, and all the major British orchestras.

A vast and award-winning discography documents Sir Andrew's artistry, with recent CDs including the works of Berlioz, Bliss, Elgar (winner of the 2018 Diapason d’Or de l’Année - Musique Symphonique), Finzi, Grainger, Delius, Ives, Holst, Handel (nominated for a Grammy in 2018 for Best Choral Performance), and York Bowen (nominated for a Grammy in 2012 for Best Orchestral Performance). Sir Andrew’s acclaimed recordings with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus celebrating British composers from Teldec’s The British Line series was recently released as a 16-CD retrospective collection by Warner Classics. Maestro Davis currently records for Chandos Records, where he has been an exclusive artist since 2009.

Born in 1944 in Hertfordshire, England, Maestro Davis studied at King's College, Cambridge, where he was an organ scholar before taking up conducting. His diverse repertoire ranges from Baroque to contemporary, and spans the symphonic, operatic, and choral worlds. Sir Andrew is a great proponent of twentieth-century works including those by Janáček, Messiaen, Boulez, Elgar, Tippett, and Britten, in addition to the core symphonic and operatic works. As chief conductor, Sir Andrew has always participated in the creation and premieres of new repertoire and new compositions, personally conducting a great number of them.

In 1992, Maestro Davis was created a Commander of the British Empire, and in 1999 he was designated a Knight Bachelor in the New Year Honours List. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. 

Sir Andrew Davis is the John D. and Alexandra C. Nichols Endowed Chair.

For further information, please visit Sir Andrew's website.

Sir Andrew Davis, music director and principal conductor of Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Photo: Todd Rosenberg