Born in 1944 in Hertfordshire, England, Maestro Davis studied at King's College, Cambridge, where he was an organ scholar before taking up the baton. His diverse repertoire ranges from Baroque to contemporary, and his vast conducting credits span the symphonic and operatic and choral worlds. Sir Andrew is a great proponent of twentieth-century works including those by Janácek, Messiaen, Boulez, Elgar, Tippett, and Britten, in addition to the core symphonic and operatic composers' works.
Sir Andrew Davis has served as music director and principal conductor of Lyric Opera of Chicago since 2000. Davis's contract with Lyric Opera was recently extended through the 2020-2021 season. Maestro Davis was recently named chief conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra beginning in January 2013, and he is conductor laureate of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (having previously served as principal conductor), conductor laureate of the BBC Symphony Orchestra (having previously had the longest tenure as chief conductor since BBCSO founder Sir Adrian Boult) and former music director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera.
In the 2012-2013 Lyric Opera season he will conduct Strauss's Elektra, Verdi's Simon Boccanegra, Massenet's Werther, and Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. His engagements elsewhere in 2012-2013 include Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Liceu in Barcelona (Rusalka), BBC Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Bergen Philharmonic, Orchestre de l'opera de la Bastille, and Glyndebourne Festival Opera (Billy Budd).
In the 2011-2012 season Sir Andrew conducted Boris Godunov, Ariadne auf Naxos, and The Magic Flute at Lyric Opera of Chicago, as well as a subscriber appreciation concert featuring soprano Renée Fleming (Lyric's creative consultant) and baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky. 2011-2012 also saw Maestro Davis on the podium with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra in London and the symphonies of Rotterdam, Bergen and Bamberg, as well as the Metropolitan Opera (Don Giovanni) and the Canadian Opera Company (A Florentine Tragedy/Gianni Schicci). He finishes out the season this summer with performances of Arabella at the Santa Fe Opera and performances of Delius's A Mass of Life for the opening of the Edinburgh International Festival.
With the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Maestro Davis has led concerts at the Proms and on tour to Hong Kong, Japan, the U.S., and Europe. He has conducted all of the world's major orchestras, from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to the Berlin Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw, as well as at opera houses and festivals throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, and the Bayreuth Festival.
In 2008, Sir Andrew released Elgar's Violin Concertos, featuring violinist James Ehnes and London's Philharmonia Orchestra (Onyx Classics), which won Gramophone's coveted ‘Best of Category - Concerto' Award. Recordings in 2007 included Beethoven's Violin Concerto with violinist Min-Jyn Kim and the Philharmonia Orchestra (Sony); a solo recital of operatic favorites sung by soprano Nicole Cabell with the London Philharmonic Orchestra (Decca), which in 2008 won the Solti Prize from the French Académie du Disque Lyrique; and Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1 and Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1 with pianist Yundi Li and the Philharmonia Orchestra (Deutsche Grammophon).
In 1992, Maestro Davis was given the title of Commander of the British Empire for his services to British music, and in 1999 he was made a Knight Bachelor in the New Year Honours List. In 1991, he received the Royal Philharmonic Society/Charles Heidsieck Music Award. In June of 2012, he received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.