Sir Andrew Frank Davis CBE is a British conductor. He is currently music director and principal conductor of Lyric Opera of Chicago, chief conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and conductor laureate of both the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
Born in Ashridge, Hertfordshire to Robert J. Davis and his wife Florence J., Davis grew up in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, and in Watford. Davis attended Watford Boys' Grammar School, where he studied classics in his sixth form years. His adolescent musical work included playing the organ at the Palace Theatre, Watford. Davis studied at the Royal College of Music and King's College, Cambridge where he was an Organ Scholar, graduating in 1967. He later studied conducting in Rome with Franco Ferrara.
Davis's first major post was as associate conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, beginning in 1970. In 1975, he became music director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He held the post until 1988, and then took the title of Conductor Laureate with the TSO.
In 1988, Davis became music director at Glyndebourne, where he met the American soprano Gianna Rolandi, who became his third wife. Davis concluded his Glyndebourne tenure in 2000. In 1989, Sir John Drummond appointed Davis as chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. During his BBC SO tenure, Davis restored the tradition established by Malcolm Sargent of the chief conductor of the BBC SO conducting the Last Night of The Proms. He was noted for his humorous Last Night speeches, including giving two speeches after the Major-General's patter song from The Pirates of Penzance, but he also more seriously addressed the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales, Mother Teresa, and Sir Georg Solti in his 1997 Last Night speech. Davis stepped down as the BBC SO's chief conductor in 2000 and now holds the title of conductor laureate of the BBC SO.