Obituary: Sir Colin Davis (1927–2013)

Kitty&Wim Bosdijk

With deep condolences for family and orchestra.


Stephen Barber

i was very affected to hear of Sir Colin's death. I often heard him conduct and have many of his recordings. He was a great musician and I owe a lot to him.


James Allen Anderson

In an interview as part of the Conductors Guild 2012 Theodore Thomas Award presentation, maestro Davis once told me that a young conductor should never forget that "you're not playing a note. Your principal business is to enjoy what those musicians are doing and if you can help them to play better, good for you."


It is clear that he enjoyed every moment with the members of the LSO and we are all the better because of it. Thank you, maestro.


Pedro A. Aranda Gutierrez

Sir Colin,

thank you for the many wonderful moments you have allowed me to experience. Your recordings remain as a precious treasure for me.


Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle

May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.


The world of music has lost a Prince.


Judith Dines

I want to offer my condolences to the orchestra over the loss of Sir Colin Davis. He was a giant among musicians and enhanced my (and many others) musical appreciation.



One of my all-time favorite conductors and my introduction to classical music. I'm quite sad about this. Rest in peace, Sir Colin.


Christian Viguié

Une grande tristesse m'envahit en apprenant sa disparition.

Non seulement un très grand chef, mais un britannique qui a su, j'allais dire " oser ", révéler l'oeuvre entier de Berlioz aux mélomanes français qui l'ignoraient.

Je garde précieussement ses enregistrements en microssillons.


Anne Jonathan

Such sad news.. I am only a very ordinary concert goer but Sir Colin introduced me to Berlioz and taught me to love music over a period of 50 years.


The Berlioz Requiem last year in St Paul's was unforgettable

He will be sorely missed by so many and all my sympathies to his friends and family

I hope there will a fitting Memorial Service for him in good time ?


Peter Burt

I am very sad to hear of the death of Sir Colin. His recordings for World Record Club were among the first classical records I collected. I still have them and still play them; Mozart's Symphony No.29 being a particular favourite.


Manuel Zafra Almagro



ALi M. Assaf II

The music shall never cease to flow from your heart and under your baton. Farewell Maestro.


Anjali Dhar

RIP Sir Colin Davis. I purchased a boxed set of Sibelius's LPs in the eighties from a music shop in Leicester Square. The seller said 'Madam, you will never regret buying these' very true.


David Lloyd

I remember a splendid Idomeneo at the Barbican. It was thrilling. He was a superb Mozartian.


Mrs. Lori Cameron

Our condolences to the loved ones of Sir Colin Davis...although he will be missed here, just think of the music where he is...


Irene McGregor

It was with great sadness that I awoke this morning to the news that Sir Colin had died. His performances of the choral works I sang with him over the years were memorable - he always added something special by way of interpretion and made you want to give of your best. My condolences go to the family and all of those who worked with him both professionally and, like me, as an amateur in the London Symphony Chorus. His talent will be a great loss to the world of music but will not be forgotten.


Debra Colvin

Dear Sir Colin ... wonderfully unassuming with an infectious chuckle. I hung on his every word during rehearsals. Not only was he respected, he was actually loved. It takes an extraordinary musician to inspire that kind of adoration. There will be many a tear shed today by those he knew but I suspect even more by those he did not. That surely will be one big ocean! Thank you so much for the wonderful years of musical experiences you gave to me and to countless others.


Mikhaela Houston - Boston MA USA

It was an honor to perform with you several years ago when you were leading the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Rest in peace, dear Maestro.



He was one of the giants...he will be missed, and can never be replaced.


Gabriella Galgani

It is with great sadness that I hear the news that Sir Colin has passed away. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. I will always treasure my memories of him as a conductor of the concerts I sang in as a member of the London Symphony Chorus.


Alan Booth

I had the honour of working with Sir Colin whilst label manager at Philips, and again whilst at the LSO as a lowly press and pr officer. He always cared for what you said and did, and was one of the truly international British maestros. A real gentleman, sadly missed.


George Young Wallace

A great man who brought countless joy to millions of Music lovers the World over, he will be greatly missed by all who love Great Music.


Teodoro Evans

Desde San Jose, Coata Rica, sentidas condolencias. Fue excepcional.


Ethan Yun

Today when i was on the way home after works, i'm listening the Schumann piano concerto conducted by Sir Colin Davis with BBC SO and pianist Kovacevich. I was inspired by this impressive playing, but suddenly heared this sad news from twitter. I don't know if this is coincidence or God's will. I hope there are also classical music in the heaven so that soul can be saved by Sir Colin's music.



My thoughts and prayers are with Sir Colin's family. Such a sad day for us all. He will be sadly missed especially by the London Symphony Chorus as well as the wider world of music.


Sergio Ivan Valdes

Farewell, Sir Colin. You'll be sorely missed.


Melissa Burton Anderson

I wanted to send a message to his daughter, Shaida, whom I played with in Rochester. So sorry to hear of the loss of your father. My heart goes out to you and your family.


Les Mitnick

As an American, I had many occasions to hear Sir Colin conduct in Chicago. I also own quite a few of his recordings. He was a giant in music, and we shall all miss him. My condolences to his compatriots in the United Kingdom. We Americans share your feelings of loss. He remains the supreme Mozart interpreter. We are all rich in memories should we be so luckless as to never encounter his like again. What a rich life!


Gregor Kowalski

It has been a great privilege and pleasure to sing under Sir Colin's baton as a member of the London Symphony Chorus. He had brilliantly illuminating insights into the meaning of the music he conducted which he passed on to performers with characteristic generosity and eloquence. His beat was crystal clear and his gestures had such un-affected elegance. I shall treasure many memorable performances and the sparkle that was never far from his eye!


Francisco Javier Figueroa Teva

Desde España lamento la muerte de esta gran figura de la música.

Mi admiración y respeto para Sir Colin Davis.


Tony Ayres (Orchestra da Camera)

We are all saddened to hear the news that Sir Colin has passed away. He will be much missed by both musicians and audiences. I have always admired his work from the moment as a youngster that I bought his recording of Beethoven 7 with the RPO. RIP.


Robert Kenchington

I remember meeting Sir Colin Davis after a concert at the Barbican and found it hard to believe that this modest, quietly spoken gentleman humbly signing my programme and bantering about his pet iguana was the same person who'd just conducted the greatest performance of Elgar's 2nd Symphony I'd ever heard!


But that was Sir Colin Davis to a tee: a sincere and noble servant of the music to be compared with Bruno Walter, Carlo Maria Giulini and his old mentor Sir Adrian Boult. A kind and giving man whose powerful and revelatory interpretations will live on through modern media to enrich the lives of listeners both now and in the future.


Thank you and sleep well.


Tony Watts

While there are many musicians I admire, there a re few who can be truthfully said to inspire love and Sir Colin was one of this rare breed. His career ran like a thread through my own life as an avid concert and opera-goer. He was on the first LP I ever had, at the Proms conducted some of the first concerts I ever attended and during his time at Covent Garden was instrumental in turning this former opera sceptic into a huge lover of the genre. Latterly his benign stewardship of the LSO has been enormously rewarding.


I cannot think of another musician whose work has given me such pleasure and it is difficult to believe that I will never again see that almost boyish enthusiasm for music, hear him humming along with the music or see that warm smile at the end of a performance. He enriched my life immeasurably and the lives of countless thousands like me. Thank Sir Colin - it was wonderful


Kate Hopkins

I grew up with Sir Colin Davis's wonderful recordings of Mozart operas and Sibelius symphonies - later, his recordings of Berlioz taught me to love this composer's operas too. I was fortunate to see and hear him conduct at the Royal Opera House several times, and in concert. He was a very great man and a very fine musician. My thoughts go out to his family and friends at this time. He will be sorely missed.


Nick Pitt

I had the privilege to be conducted by Sir Colin as a student at Harrow Young Musicians in the 1970's when he made a visit as a guest conductor. It doesn't get much better. He will be sorely missed.


Ni Hu

With deepest condolences... I was hoping to admire your vigour at the podium...R.I.P. Sir Colin Davis.


Maurizio Mattei

Thank you Colin, thank you. I remember your concert in Pisa, Italy, with LSO. You teach me to love Mozart's music and I can't forget it. Rest in peace.


George Koutsoudopoulos

The terribly sad news of his passing will be superseded by all the great memories and recordings that Sir Colin left behind. My last memory of him will be the astounding Berlioz Requiem at St Paul's last summer. It was the perfect last meeting between the two great men and will treasure the recording and my memories of that evening for ever.


My thoughts are with the orchestra and his family.


Vladi Nekoloff

Everyone can appreciate Sir Colin's genius, it was more than evident. But if you happened to be absolutely obsessed with Berlioz's music, he was everything! It's safe to say that his Les Troyens made me a musician.


When I was 8, my mother decided it was time for my first Prom and, quite unexpectedly, she took me to the Berlioz Requiem. I have heard it before, but, my god, what a trill it was. I was shaking, filled with awe, gazing right at the conductor during the whole performance. It's one of my earliest memories. And a most dear one.


I would like to offer my deepest condolences to Sir Colin's family. And I would like to thank the London Symphony Orchestra for everything they did together for the last 50 years.


May he rest in peace.


Edwin Cheng



Shiru Lim

I grew up listening to many of Sir Colin's recordings, and have had the privilege of hearing him conduct Così fan tutte and Die Zauberflöte at the Royal Opera in recent seasons (also I saw him leaving from the stage door after the opening night of Così last season). I've always found Sir Colin's Mozart captivating, brilliant and thoughtful, and it was incredible to hear music under the baton of this great man in the very same hall. It's difficult to fathom the loss of one who has had such a great impact on the music world for several decades, and the tributes pouring in now are surely a measure of how much Sir Colin is already missed.


Alexander Prior

A great loss for the music world; but we must celebrate the amazing achievements of this outstanding man. His performances and music making will always remain very dear to me, especially with Sibelius - a composer that Sir Colin seemed to understand on a truly deep and human level, his recordings and performances of Sibelius's music will remain some of the most wonderful musical experiences of my life.

I will also never forget the time I sang for him. His kindness and encouragement (and looking back, I realize that I would be hard pressed to encourage someone making such an awful sound) were a wonderful motivation for me at such a young age; and his smile and face that just exuded love and goodness, is etched into my mind forever.

We love you Sir Colin, and the world is ever grateful to you!


Sara Novelli

May you continue to conduct great music in Heaven


Federico Rodriguez Cartin

My deepest condolences to family and friends. Thank you Mr. Davis for such great music making.


Jose Nikolaus Mella

A greeting to the heaven, Maestro!.


Gisela Timmermann

Our farewell to a great master and gentleman.

Mozarteum Argentino


Leo Patsalides

We have lost not only a great conductor but a warm, generous, and kind human being who will be very sadly missed. Sir Colin Davis, Rest In Peace



very sad news,a joy to work with, Berlioz live Record recital in cambridge in 1968.


Paul Little

So sad.

Yesterday afternoon was spent with my 7 year old building a mobile display of the planets.

We had Sir Colin Davis and the LSO - Holst - The Planets playing on repeat to provide the inspiration for our work.


A great man who leaves some wonderful work to be appreciated by future generations.


A. Dualde Saborit

Se'n va un dels mas grans. Descansa en pau.


Lyn Moran

It was with sorrow I heard in the middle of last night of the passing of Sir Colin Davis. I too was at the 1967 Last Night of the Proms and remember his friendly interaction with the Promenaders of which I was one. I still have a photo I took of Sir Colin during that meeting. My condolences to his family.


Philip Stear

So much gratitude for so many evenings of musical delight - at the Barbican, at the ROH, and at the Proms. RIP Sir Colin.


Sinead O'Carroll

Thank you Sir Colin Davis for the sheer joy of music that you gave to an orchestra of RAM students at the RAM back in the early 90's when you conducted us all in Sibelius 5. I have never forgotten it. Your legacy and musical magic lives on through all of us.


marion e. ward

Sir Colin Davis will be sadly missed. We must be grateful for a life devoted to music and the legacy he has left.


Grahame Pidgley

Every great recipe requires the hands of a master chef to blend the ingredients and time the cooking to produce the perfect dish and Sir Colin was one of the best RIP


Adam Garrie

Sir Colin seemed to be a perennial figure at the LSO. The last concert of Sir Colin's that I saw was when he performed the Requiem of Berlioz at St. Paul's Cathedral in the summer of 2012. Even at an advanced age he brought a tremendous amount of passion, contemplation and humanity to a piece which requires each in equal measure. From his early days as a a conductor and his unique association with the LSO he became seen in my eyes as a father figure to the orchestra.


The greatest tribute to his leadership and more recently his presidency of the LSO is the LSO we know today. The orchestra he first stepped in front of in his 30s was one somewhat lacking in professionalism and refinement. The orchestra he has left us is a world class band whose abilities are as versatile as were his.


Perhaps after some time and reflection Barbican Hall might be re-named Sir Colin Davis Hall. I cannot think of a more fitting tribute to the man who in more ways than one put the LSO back on the map of internationally top tier orchestras.