Sir Colin Davis
It was with sadness that I heard that Sir Colin Davis, the internationally renowned conductor, has died at the age of 85 (14 April ’13). Sir Colin lived locally, in Highbury.
I remember him well from when I danced in the Sadler’s Wells Opera Ballet during the 60’s, when he was the musical director of the Opera Company. Performances and rehearsals that Sir Colin conducted always had an extra edge of excitement about them, as he was an inspiring and charismatic conductor who wanted the very best from everyone under his baton – and he did not suffer fools gladly! Some people described him as a ‘firebrand’ in those days.
Sir Colin was well respected internationally, was the principal conductor and President of the London Symphony Orchestra for many years, plus conducted the orchestras of the Royal Opera House and many other famous institutions. Sir Colin held the International Chair Conducting Studies at the Royal Academy of Music for 25 years.
Less well known is that Sir Colin was an advocate of the Alexander Technique and must have encouraged many musicians to take Alexander lessons. It has been said that over the years Sir Colin mellowed and it may well be that the Technique helped him to bring about this change?
Sir Colin’s second wife, Shamsi, trained as an Alexander Teacher a few years after me at Misha Magidov’s AT Teacher Training Course. Shamsi Davis later taught the AT at the Royal Academy of Music and over the years, both she and Sir Colin donated a substantial amount of money to the RAM Alexander Technique fund.
Sir Colin Davis has left a rich legacy of music making and will be very much missed.