Sir Andrew Davis will become the Chief Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in January 2013 for an initial period of four years.
In announcing the appointment, MSO Chairman Harold Mitchell said: “From Sir Andrew’s first downbeat with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, it was clear that this was a very special relationship. It is a privilege to have one of the most widely admired figures in classical music on the MSO podium, and we are looking forward to an extraordinary journey with this inspirational man and musician.”
Sir Andrew recently extended his contract as the Music Director and Principal Conductor of Lyric Opera of Chicago through to the 2020/2021 season, having been appointed in 2000. He is also Conductor Laureate of both the Toronto Symphony and BBC Symphony orchestras, and was previously Music Director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera.
A former organ scholar at King’s College, Cambridge, he has conducted all of the world’s major orchestras as well as at leading opera houses and festivals. His tenure as Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, which he led annually at the Proms and on tour in Europe, the USA and Asia, was the longest since that of the Orchestra’s founder, Sir Adrian Boult. His repertoire is remarkably diverse and he is a keen proponent of works by Elgar, Tippett, Britten, Boulez, Messiaen and Janáček.
“For those of you who so passionately support the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, it will come as no surprise when I express my absolute delight at the opportunity to be back in this beautiful city and to start a new conducting journey with this magnificent orchestra,” Sir Andrew Davis, MSO Chief Conductor Designate, said.
“I can’t tell you how exciting it is to be joining the MSO as it prepares to head into a new era in Hamer Hall; I look forward to conducting many remarkable performances with the Orchestra for the people of Melbourne.”
Under the direction of Sir Andrew, the MSO will focus each season on the symphonies of Gustav Mahler, the tone poems of Richard Strauss and the orchestral music of Hector Berlioz amongst other repertoire. Together, they will record for international release and digital download on the Chandos label, of which Sir Andrew is an exclusive artist. Sir Andrew will also work regularly with the MSO Chorus, beginning with music by Melbourne’s own Percy Grainger in August 2012 and continuing with the Verdi Requiem in 2013. He is committed both to touring internationally with the MSO and to collaborating with the world’s finest guest artists in Melbourne.
“Sir Andrew’s concerts are always eagerly anticipated by the whole orchestra and we are thrilled at the prospect of a more substantial and regular relationship with him. He is a wonderful musician and a strong, no-nonsense leader who will inspire us on the concert stage and give us the direction and focus we need to keep growing as an orchestra,” said Wilma Smith, Concertmaster of the MSO.
Sir Andrew’s appointment will see him conduct the MSO in Melbourne for a period of four weeks in 2013, increasing to six weeks in 2014 and eight weeks in both 2015 and 2016. From 2014 he will also have a commitment to international touring with the MSO, in addition to his time spent in Melbourne.