Obituary: Sir Colin Davis (1927–2013)

Tim Wheeler

I am deeply saddened and taken aback by the death of Sir Colin Davis. What a stalowart he was for Berlioz! He almost singlehandely brought this composers works backi to life agai9n. RIP ISR COLIN DAVIS


bernadette davis

Rest in peace Colin you are now with your beloved wife, lots of love to all your children and grandchildren.


Maddalena Branduardi

It was a true honour to have the opportunity to work with you. You were a real legend to me and my dad Angelo. We both send deep condolence and great love to the family. Your music will stay forever.


Fr Peter Dutton

Thank you,Sir Colin.I have wonderful memories of performances led by you,especially Missa Solemnis,Sibelius and Macmillan Passion.I heard this news as I walk into church to celebrate Mass and remind others of your gifts


Mike Brook

Very sorry to read of Sir Collin's death. Condolences to his family, friends and colleagues and my thanks for the great experiences, live and recorded. He leave behind him a wonderful legacy of work filled with humanity and deep musical values.



Rest in peace



Very sorry to hear of the passing of Sir Colin. I will always be grateful for his championing of the music of Sir Michael Tippett and the many marvellous recordings he made.


Jill Calvert

As just an ordinary music lover I am immensely saddened by this news Much loved and a huge inspiration, rest in peace Sir Colin You will be greatly missed.


Matt Lindop

We have lost a great musician but also such a great man. Conductors have to have unshakeable confidence, but what made Sir Colin really different was his warmth. He was quick to praise and think of others, and it was clear his family meant everything to him. And I think this came across on stage too through such sensitive, passionate and engaging performances. Thank you Sir Colin.


Brian Robins

Quite simply the greatest British conductor of my time. During my teens his Mozart was revelatory, but it was the great Berlioz performances of 70s that will forever live in my memory. I also recall doing an interview with Colin Davis (as he then was) in 1961, a daunting but electrifying experience during his rather more restless days! Thank you for everything, Sir Colin, and rest in well-deserved peace.


Debbie Jones

As a member of the London Symphony Chorus, I took part in many memorable performances conducted by Sir Colin. An inspiration to all of us. it was a privilege to make music with him. He will be greatly missed.


Roberto Tofi

A great Conductor, elegant and refined. We will miss him!


janet Macrae

As a teenager, I sang with the Redhill Choral Society. Colin Davis and April Cantelo were guest conductor and soloist . I really enjoyed singing under him and have followed his career with great interest ever since. He will be sorely missed.


Andrew bark

Only yesterday I was sorting out my CD collection and I was amazed to see how many recordings I had that were conducted by Sir Colin. This morning I read of his passing with a heavy heart. I shall simply say thank you for the music. God bless you and your family.


Sandi Fryer

The most inspirational Maestro of all time. You will be sorely missed Sir Colin


Mihai Constantinescu

The "George Enescu" international Festival deeply regrets the sad news of the passing away of the great artist who was Sri COLIN DAVIS.

We will always remember with joy and respect, the honor that maestro Colin Davis did us participating in our Festival.

We will never forget memorable performances offered by Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra.


Mark Devin

Sincere condolences to Sir Colin's family at this sad time. I heard Sir Colin conduct on many occasions over the years, the last time at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, a semi-staged 'Trojans', which converted me to this piece and was once of the most gripping musical experiences I have ever had. My first memory of his conducting was with the LSO at the RFH many years ago, Liszt's Second Piano Concerto with Claudio Arrau. For me, Sir Colin's music-making was characterised by his deep humanity. A musician's musician. I shall miss him. May he rest in peace.


Vinod George

Sir Colin, you will be missed dearly. Rest in peace.


Derek Chapman

His wit, skill, musical insight and musicianship were unequalled in any British conductor of the recording era; he is a very great loss to everyone who loves serious music.


Irene Breslaw

Being able to work with Sir Colin was a highlight of my career in the NY Philharmonic. He was inspiring in all a man, as a musician. I will miss him.


Gabriel Lau Martins

I am just a listener of music, a big fan of classical music. It's impossible to describe my fascination when I heard his recording of the Berlioz's requiem with LSO and Ronald Dowd. Such emotion when I watch the DVD with the same work. I regret not having gone to a concert in 2010, when I had the opportunity, with LSO wich Colin Davis conducted the "Symphonie Fantastique". With deep affection.


Anthony Stocks

I will never forget a performance of Berlioz's "Damnation of Faust" conducted by Maestro Davis in London in the fall of 1982. His searing reading of this magnificent piece made for one of the most powerful and profound musical experiences of my life. Thank you, Sir Colin, for all the beauty and joy your music making brought to so many through your live performances and recordings.


Rajeev Aloysius

I have never met Sir Colin, but always enjoyed his many recordings particularly of Mozart and Berlioz. His contribution to music goes far beyond this, of course. He was also an erudite speaker on music and his contemporaries. My condolences to his family and friends.


Hugh Alford ( former bass in the Chorus)

Many thanks to Sir Colin for all he taught and shared in rehearsals performances and recordings.


The tours were very exciting as well.


The choral / opera concerts with the LSO were thrilling


Frank Beck

Sir Colin's many friends in New York will never forget him or the many nights he brightened with performances of Elgar, Sibelius and other of his favorite composers at Lincoln Center.


His 2010 recording of Elgar's Violin Concerto with Nikolaj Znaider and the Staatskapelle Dresden, like Elgar's own recording with Yehudi Menuhin, was a heartwarming fusion of youthful passion and wise experience. I've never heard the cadenza played with such intensity.


We will miss him very much here in New York.


Alan Craig

How fitting that one of his final recordings being released is the Berlioz Requiem Mass or Grand Messe de Morts. He was one of the last of the really classic orchestra conductors. What an amazing legacy for one man to have.


Richard Chong

Very sorry to hear that Sir Colin Davis has passed. His legacy will thankfully live on in numerous recordings but for today, the podium is silent.


Thank you Sir Colin for everything.


Marie Lamb, WCNY-FM

On behalf of my colleagues at WCNY Classic FM in Syracuse, New York, I send condolences from us and from our listeners in the USA and Canada. We have been proud to play Sir Colin's recordings for many years, and he has also been featured on many of our concert programs. He will be missed by lovers of classical music all over the world, and we are grateful for all of the music he has given the world over the decades. Rest in peace, Sir Colin, after a job well done and a life well-lived.



Such an unexpected tragedy... I wish to meet you and talk someday. I wish to be a conductor like you someday in the future. Thank you very much for your music and great inspiration.

Rest in peace, maestro.


Lay-Kok Tan

A great loss to the world of classical music. Thank you for introduing me to the delights of Mozart and Berlioz's Les Troyens.

I will always remember your moving concert where you conducted Mozart's Requiem at the Royal Festival Hall in 1997 in tribute to Princess Diana and attended by the Queen.

Condolences to the family.



Deeply saddened but not surprised to hear the sad news.I have so much to to be grateful to Sir Colin for but above all i am in his debt for inspiring my deep love affair with the music of the greatest French composer Hector Berlioz.R.I.P. Sir Colin and thanks for making my life so much more enjoyable.


Lawrence Martin

I offer my profound sympathy to Sir Colin Davis' family, friends and colleagues. His recordings of Berlioz's music had a profound impact on me and marked the beginning of my journey into classical music twenty years ago. He brought immense joy to so many people, and will continue to do so through his legacy of great recordings.


Elizabeth Cairncross

With sympathy and condolences from Wells Cathedral School, where Sir Colin was patron of our Friends of Music organisation, and whe talented Yung musicians have lost a fine role model.


David Cutts

I had the privilege of playing for him only once - but this was a really inspiring occasion and led to a transformation in my musical life. Meeting him recently I felt his profound love of the music he conducted. He was a great musician and truly inspiring. A great loss.


paul lewis

A very sad day for the musical world. It was Sir Colin Davis who introduced me to the wonders of the music of Belioz, a composer I did not initially understand but subsequently became my favourite of all time! It was a complete performance of the The Trojans in 1968 with the LSO which initiated my interest (I was quite young at the time) and I am so grateful I was present at his performance of the Requiem at St.Pauls last June, now a treasured memory.


David King

Wandsworth Boys School Choir

I had the privilege of working with Sir Colin Davis during the 1970s. He was the kindest most generous man. I can still hear, in my mind, Berlioz Te Deum ringing around the Royal Albert Hall. He gave us young boys the opportunity to work at the highest level - something I will never forget. This is a very sad day.


Juan Gartner

The world of music will remember this date as one of great sadness. Maestro of maestros, Davis begin his way to eternity today . Condolences and my feeling of soladirity


Lady Annabelle Weidenfeld

Heartfelt condolences to all his children, his family, and all the musicians in the orchestra who were so hoping to play under his unique musical guidance again. I personally owe him an immeasurable musical debt having attended his rehearsals and concerts as a child and continuing all my life to benefit from his consummate musicianship. I heard many works for the first time conducted by him and never forget any one of his performances. He was sweet to us as children, living nearby in Princedale Road London, he would sometimes give us a lift home. I will miss him always and may he rest in peace in the company of his beloved Mozart, Haydn, Berlioz, Sibelius and the countless other composers who must be so grateful to him.


A cellist

I was only lucky enough to play under Sir Colin once whilst I was at college, but it was one of the most inspirational and enriching experience of my musical career. I remember being struck at the humility and effortless charm of a man who was a true musician and I am blessed to have met and worked under him.


Michael Molitor Norton MA USA

Sir Colin was my musical hero, I had the great

opportunity of meeting him a couple of times in

Boston . A pure Gentleman. He will be miss by

all who love classical music and what he did for it.

My Treasure is the photo of myself and him taken in Boston. God Love and Bless Sir Colin

My condolences to his Family and the Great LSO


Vivian Kwan

Thank for the bringing out the music and touching the world...

Rest in peace, Maestro...


John Tuten

Condolences to Sir Colins family.

What a wonderful musician he was, his recordings of the Beethoven piano concerti with Steven Kovacevich were my introduction to great music making.

We note his passing with sadness, but let's also remember his great contributions to music.


Yi-Peng Li

I know I never had the chance to hear Sir Colin conduct live. However I have loved his Berlioz recordings ever since I was 8. I deeply treasure his various versions of the Berlioz Fantastique, especially the Concertgebouw version. Thank God I had the chance to ask if he could sign my Berlioz CDs while he was alive. Sir Colin, you will definitely be missed.


Jack Lawson

Not an icon or a celebrity, Sir Colin, you were humble because you were simply a real man and a genius. Thank you for the memories and thank LSO Live for the recordings, very recently of the Nielsen symphonies.



He was a lovely man. So kind, so decent, so honest. And I guess that helps if you are an artist. He was always full of love and mischief. So generous and funny. Always a twinkle in his eyes and always giving of himself to all those around him. He empowered people. He adored his wife and his children. A simple humble man. He never flaunted or 'parade about like a proud peacock" as he used to like to say. I shall miss him. I wish the world was full of men like him. It would make for a kinder more decent world. He lived a good life well. Rest In Peace.


David Callahan

I had the honor and joy to work with Sir Colin when I was a young conductor at Tanglewood in the early 1970's. His memory is unforgettable.


Kirin Nielsen

Maestro, your stylish performances were ubiquitous on the radio, for which I am very grateful, especially since I live in North America and never had the opportunity to see you perform in person. Your championship of young musicians was especially admirable and wonderful, and spoke to your generosity of spirit and in action. Thank you for sharing your music with countless listeners who enjoyed it so much.


Tabitha Mori

May you rest in peace. Many condolences to your family.



I am so dreadfully saddened. Thank you, Sir Colin, for all you have done for music and humanity.


Miles Groth

I saw Colin Davis briefly in person at a meeting of the Berlioz Society in New York in the 1980s. I had watched him conduct for many years before and since that meeting attended many concerts he conducted with the New York Philharmonic. I will remember him for his elegance and a style of conducting that was sensitive and evocative. I recall his sojourns with Berlioz and Sibelius. He had a wonderful, quiet smile and reserve that I admire in artists. I will miss seeing him make his way to the podium and draw out beautiful music from the musicians.


Nancy Wood

Had the enormous privilege of singing under CD when he conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Tanglewood Festival Chorus in the 1980's. There was an unforgettable performance of Gerontius with Jessye Norman and John Shirley-Quirk, and afterward I sat next to him in a bar and he recited Yeats to me. I don't think I was ever the same. It's heartbreaking he's gone, but an enormous privilege to have heard his musical interpretations and been a tiny element of them.


Paul Glendinning

I hear the news of Sir Colin's passing with great sadness. He excelled with many composers and his advocacy of Berlioz was particularly noteworthy. However, as an avid record collector two things especially stand out with me: his superb set of Beethoven symphonies recorded in Dresden on Philips and his numerous recorded cycles of the Sibelius symphonies. Truly we have lost one of the great Sibelius interpreters. Rest in peace.


Roddy and April Gow

Our deepest condolences to Sir Colin's family and his wider family of the LSO on this great loss. The world of music will be the poorer without him and his masterpiece performances with his beloved or hearts will be remembered for years to come.

Farewell Colin.


James Flattery

Very sorry to hear of the death of Sir Colin. Will always be grateful for him introducing me to the music of Berlioz. I will also remember his wonderful interpretations of Mozart with affection. RIP!


Elke Wunderlich

Fond memories of Sir Colin conducting the LSO during my years living in London. May he rest in peace. Heaven will be filled with beautiful music.


Lawrence Laskowski

Heartfelt condolences to Sir Colin's family and the members of the LSO. I loved his Berlioz when these recordings were initially released on Phillips LPs. Still have them. Always looked forward to hearing Sir Colin when he was in New York to conduct the NY Philharmonic. Always made sure he was in our subscription series. I shall miss him and his music.



I grew up, from the age of eight, listening to Sir Colin's wonderful interpretations. When I was nine

I listened to and loved his recording on HMV of Beethoven's 7th. Later on I was seized by his interpretations of Berlioz, notably of 'The Trojans'.

He was a truly great conductor and I go back to his recordings within my collection again and again. God bless you, Sir Colin, and may you rest easy after a lifetime of glorious work.


Tom Stone

A truly great musician and conductor. I learnt so much from just watching him conduct. Your music making at the Barbican was the highlight of my time in London.Thank you. RIP Sir Colin.


Noel Harris

What a terrible loss for us all. The world is a darker place. Mozart himself would be calling this a sad day. No one made Mozart come alive in the way that Colin Davis did.


Paul Phillips

Director of Orchestras and Chamber Music, Brown University

Music Director and Conductor, Pioneer Valley Symphony and Chorus

I'm very saddened by this news. Sir Colin Davis was one of the conductors whom I admired most, and I was very grateful when he sent me a handwritten reply to a letter I sent him when I was about 18 or so asking about becoming a conductor.


Fiona Brett



Natalie Greenly

Condolences to Sir Colin's family and colleagues. I have some cherished recordings and good memories from the Royal Opera House in the eighties.