The renowned English conductor Colin Davis was the London Symphony Orchestra's longest-serving principal conductor.
Davis was born in Weybridge, the fifth of seven children. He studied clarinet at the Royal College of Music in London, and played in the band of the Household Cavalry while serving in the army.
Colin Davis started off his conducting career with the Kalmar Chamber Orchestra and with the Chelsea Opera Group. He became Assistant Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in 1957, and moved to Sadler’s Wells in London in 1959 as Principal Conductor and subsequently Musical Director (1961-1965). One notable early performance of his was in 1958 when he conducted a performance of Die Entführung aus dem Serail in London.
Colin Davis made his American debut with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra in December 1960, as a guest conductor. He then took up engagements with the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. He served as principal guest conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1972 to 1983. In January 1967, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut in New York conducting Benjamin Britten's opera Peter Grimes.