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date: 20 January 2020

Davis, Sir Colin (Rex)locked

  • Andrew Porter
  • , revised by Alan Blyth

Extract

(Rex)

(b Weybridge, Sept 25, 1927; d London, April 14, 2013). English conductor. He studied the clarinet under Frederick Thurston at the RCM and was a bandsman in the Household Cavalry. Unable to play the piano, he was barred from the RCM conducting class, but when a group of RCM players formed the Kalmar Orchestra Davis often conducted it. From that came the Chelsea Opera Group, whose Mozart performances of the early 1950s under Davis, in Oxford and Cambridge, impressed those who heard them for their brilliance, spirit and sensitivity. His inability to play the piano precluded an opera-house apprenticeship; after some lean years in odd jobs (coaching in Cambridge, conducting suburban choirs), he was appointed assistant conductor of the BBC Scottish Orchestra in 1957. He came to prominence at his Sadler’s Wells début (Die Entführung, 1958), at an Edinburgh Festival concert the following year (Stravinsky’s Danses concertantes...

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