Dennis Russell Davies’ activities as opera and orchestral conductor, and as pianist and chamber musician, are characterized by an extensive repertory stretching from Baroque to the latest music of our time. Widely considered to be one of the most innovative and adventurous conductors and programmers in the classical music world, Davies has successfully challenged and inspired audiences on both sides of the Atlantic as well as in Japan. He is well-known for exciting, well-structured concerts and for his close working relationships with such varied composers as Luciano Berio, William Bolcom, John Cage, Philip Glass, Heinz Winbeck, Aaron Copland, Lou Harrison, Laurie Anderson, Arvo Pärt, Hans Werner Henze, Kurt Schwertsik, Thomas Larcher, Balduin Sulzer, and Manfred Trojahn.
Dennis Russell Davies has been Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Filharmonie Brno since 2018, and at the same time Principal Conductor of the MDR Symphony Orchestra since 2020.
In the 22/23 season he is invited to conduct concerts with the Filharmonie Brno in Salzburg, Linz and Bratislava, and will go with the orchestra on tour to Great Britain and the United States of America. He returns as a guest to the Bochumer Symphoniker, the Frankfurt Museum Orchestra, the Kyoto Symphony Orchestra and the Orquesta de València.
After first appointments as Music Director of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Chief Conductor of the American Composers Orchestra, which he led for 25 years, Davies moved to Europe as General Music Director of the Staatsoper Stuttgart, then Opera Bonn and the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn. He subsequently led the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, and the Sinfonieorchester Basel. In 2013, during his long and successful tenure in Linz as Chief Conductor of the Landestheater Linz and Bruckner Orchester Linz, Davies inaugurated the new Linzer Musiktheater conducting the World Premiere of Philip Glass’/Peter Handke’s Spuren der Verirrten and Strauss’ Rosenkavalier.
As a guest conductor in the USA, he has appeared with the orchestras of Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston, New York and Cleveland. In Europe he has worked regularly with the Concertgebouworkest and the Gewandhausorchester and has conducted the Berliner Philharmoniker, Filarmonica della Scala, the St. Petersburg Philharmonia, Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, as well as the Hamburg and Munich Philharmonic Orchestras.
He has conducted various new opera productions at the Bayreuth and Salzburg Festivals, the Metropolitan Opera New York, the Hamburgische and Bayerische Staatsoper, the Opéra National de Paris, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Teatro Real in Madrid – a total of more than 140 new productions by many of the theater world‘s most important stage directors.
Dennis Russell Davies‘ rich discography includes complete recordings of the symphonies of Anton Bruckner and Philip Glass (Bruckner Orchester Linz), Joseph Haydn (Stuttgarter Kammerorchester) and Arthur Honegger (Sinfonieorchester Basel). With his wife and duo partner Maki Namekawa he has recorded extensively, including works by Mozart, Beethoven, Shostakovitch, Glass and Stravinsky’s original four-hand versions of Le Sacre de Printemps, Firebird, and Petrouchka, which he also recorded with the Sinfonieorchester Basel.
Born in Toledo, Ohio in 1944, Davies studied piano and conducting at the Juilliard School in New York. From 1997-2012 he was professor for orchestral conducting at the University Mozarteum Salzburg; in September 2020, he started a guest professorship at the Janáček Academy of Music and performing Arts in Brno.
Since 2009, Dennis Russell Davies is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has been awarded the German “Bundesverdienstkreuz”, the Austrian “Ehrenkreuz für Wissenschaft und Kunst”, as well as the title “Commandeur des Arts et Lettres” bestowed by the French Government.
DENNIS RUSSELL DAVIES