Dennis Russell Davies

Dennis Russell Davies has proven to be one of the most innovative visionary conductors in the world of classical music, successfully challenging and inspiring audiences on both sides of the Atlantic as well as in Japan.He is known for his exciting, well-structured concerts and for his close working relationships with composers such as Luciano Berio, Hans Werner Henze, William Bolcom, John Cage, Philip Glass, Aaron Copland, Arvo Pärt, Michael Nyman, Kurt Schwertsik. He is an astonishing interpreter of the music of the second half of the 20th century -the circle of composers also includes Lou Harrison, Alfred Schnittke, Krzysztof Penderecki, Valentin Silvestrov, Giya Kancheli, Witold Lutoslawski, Virgil Thomson, Alan Hovhaness, Isang Yun among others.

After first appointments as music director of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and chief conductor of the American Composers Orchestra, which he led for 25 years, Davis moved to Europe as general music director of the Staatsoper Stuttgart, then the Bonn Opera and Beethoven Orchestra-Bonn. He has been the chief conductor of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra and the Basel Orchestra.

In 2013, during a long and successful tenure in Linz as Chief Conductor of the Landestheater – Linz and the Bruckner Orchestra – Linz, Davis inaugurated the new Linzer Music Theatre, conducting the world premiere of Philip Glass’s opera The Lost and Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier.

He has conducted the orchestras of Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, the New York Philharmonic. Currently he works with Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Royal Concertgebouworkest, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Orchestra Filharmonica della Scala di Milano, Munich and Hamburg Philharmonic.

He has conducted opera premieres at the Bayreuth and Salzburg Festivals, the Metropolitan Opera, the Opéra National de Paris, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Teatro Real in Madrid, a total of over 140 new productions with many of the world’s most important theatre directors.

Dennis Russell Davies’ extensive discography includes complete cicles with the symphonies of Anton Bruckner and Philip Glass (with the Bruckner Orchestra – Linz), Joseph Haydn (with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra) and Arthur Honegger (with the Basel Symphony Orchestra).

Born in Toledo, Ohio, Dennis Russell Davis studied piano and conducting at Juilliard School in New York City. From 1997-2012 he was Professor of Orchestral Conducting at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg. Since September 2020 he has been a guest professor at the Leoš Janacek Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno. In 2018 he became artistic director and chief conductor of the Brno Philharmonic, and in 2020 he would head the MDR-Sinfonieorchester – Leipzig.

Davis is known for his long-standing relationship with jazz pianist Keith Jarrett, whom he conducted in classical concert repertoire. But he also performs his own compositions as pianist and conductor. In recent years, he has played in a piano duo with his wife, Maki Namekawa.

Since 2009, he has been working as a pianist for the Czech Republic. Dennis Russell Davis is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been awarded the German “Federal Order of Merit”, the Austrian Badge of Honor for Science and Art, and the title of “Commander of Arts and Letters” by the French government.


Past events

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