Sir Andrew Davis Honorary Degree Presentation

Presented by Professor of Music, Artistic Director/Conductor of the Knox-Galesburg Symphony Bruce Polay

June 02, 2012

President Amott:

It is a distinct privilege to present Sir Andrew Davis for the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts.

Sir Andrew Davis is one of today's most highly regarded and sought after international conductors. He currently serves as music director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, having recently been named to its Board of Directors. Maestro Davis is also conductor laureate of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, where he held the longest tenure as chief conductor since that of the orchestra's founder, the legendary Sir Adrian Boult. He also serves as artistic advisor to the Besançon International Music Festival and is president of the jury for that festival's 52nd International Competition for Young Conductors.

Simply chart a course, if you like, to the Lyric's current season for a sampling of the remarkable breadth and variety of his performance literature. In it, Maestro Davis conducted masterpieces ranging from Mozart's genial The Magic Flute to Mussorgky's epic Boris Godunov. Next season he will conduct "the Lyric" with literature that bridges international boundaries of Germany, Italy, and France highlighted by Strauss’ Elektra, Donizetti's Don Pasquale, Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, Puccini's La Boheme, and Verdi's Rigoletto. In addition, Sir Andrew's appearances next season will include engagements with the Melbourne Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, London's Philharmonia Orchestra, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the New York Metropolitan Opera, the Santa Fe Opera, the Canadian Opera Company, the festivals of Bergen and Edinburgh, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. In fact, he has conducted all of the world's major orchestras, such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw, as well as opera houses and festivals worldwide, including La Scala, and the Bayreuth Festival.

In his native Britain, Sir Andrew has been named Commander of the British Empire for his services to British Music, appointed a Knight Bachelor in the New Year Honors List and has received the Royal Philharmonic Society's Charles Heidsieck Music Award.

In a recent review of the New York Philharmonic critic Steve Smith wrote: "... if the energy Mr. Davis showed throughout the evening, right down to his robust curtain calls, could be bottled and marketed, talk of a crisis in classical music would evaporate." As a college deeply committed to the arts, we honor Sir Andrew Davis as a uniquely energized and distinguished individual who combines brilliant musicianship with extraordinary interpretive prowess. His accomplishments as a consummate performer demonstrate both an exceptional versatility and a broad and deep knowledge of music making -- and at a level which is achieved by few in the esteemed practice of orchestral conducting.

Madam President, in recognition of his artistic contributions as a conductor whose knowledge of the literature and interpretive mastery have not simply met, but established new standards of the highest order, I am deeply honored to present Sir Andrew Davis for the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts.

Presented by Professor of Music, Artistic Director/Conductor of the Knox-Galesburg Symphony Bruce Polay