sun 26/05/2024

Features & Interviews

Remembering conductor Andrew Davis (1944-2024)


As a human being of immense warmth, humour and erudition, Andrew Davis made it all too easy to forget what towering, incandescent performances he inspired. Now is a good time to recall those properly to mind, to listen to his huge discography, and to assess his proper place among the top conductors – again, as one of such versatility and range that, to adapt what Danny Meyer writes below, he might have been labelled a jack of all trades when he was a master of all.

Extract: Pariah Genius by Iain Sinclair

Iain Sinclair

Iain Sinclair is a writer, film-maker, and psychogeographer extraordinaire. He began his career in the poetic avant-garde of the Sixties and Seventies, alongisde the likes of Ed Dorn and J. H. Prynne, but his work resists easy categorisation at every turn. Reality shudders against and into its incarnation as fiction; documentary is riddled with the imagination’s brilliant glare; genre-bounds are ruinously questioned.

First Persons: composers Colin Alexander and...

Colin Alexander And Héloïse Werner

For tonight’s performance at Milton Court, the nuanced and delicate tones of strings, voices, harmonium and chamber organ will merge and mingle...

First Person: Leeds Lieder Festival director and...

Joseph Middleton

Everyone needs friends and everything is connected. As we throw the doors open on to the 2024 Leeds Lieder Festival I am struck by just how...

First Person: actor Paul Jesson on survival,...

Paul Jesson

In September 2022 I had an email from my American friend Richard Nelson: "Would you like me to write you a play?" Such an offer probably comes the...

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 15,000 pieces, we're asking for £5 per month or £40 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take a subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?

First Person: author-turned-actor Lydia Higman on a play that foregrounds a slice of forgotten history

Lydia Higman

'Gunter' co-creator and historian connects a 1604 witch hit to the world today

First person: playwright Paul Grellong on keeping pace with American politics

Paul Grellong

The author of 'Power of Sail' sets the scene for his play's UK premiere

10 Questions for folk singer-songwriter Olivia Chaney - 'deeply personal songs that open out to the universal'

Tim Cumming

The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter on 'Circus of Desire', her strongest album to date

First Person: conductor Peter Whelan on coming full circle with the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra

Peter Whelan

From watching Handel's 'Israel in Egypt' on TV to conducting it

theartsdesk in Strasbourg: crossing the frontiers

Boyd Tonkin

'Lohengrin' marks a remarkable singer's arrival on Planet Wagner

First Person: Laurence Cummings on his 25th and final year as Musical Director of the London Handel Festival

Laurence Cummings

A blockbuster month begins tomorrow, mixing starry casts with new talent

First Person: violinist Tom Greed on breaking down barriers in the presentation of chamber music

Tom Greed

Unscary Schoenberg is on the bill of enterprising young musicians' latest new-look event

First Person: Ten Years On - Flamenco guitarist Paco Peña pays tribute to his friend, the late, great Paco de Lucía

Paco Peña

On the 10th anniversary of his death, memories of the prodigious musician who broadened the reach of flamenco into jazz and beyond

First Person: pioneering juggler Sean Gandini reflects on how the spirit of Pina Bausch has infiltrated his work

Sean Gandini

As Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch's 'Nelken' comes to Sadler’s Wells, a tribute from across the art forms

First Person: contralto Hilary Summers on going beyond her baroque and contemporary comfort zones

Hilary Summers

On recording 'Circus Dinogad', a wacky collaboration with distinguished Dutch colleagues

Best of 2023: Books


As the year draws to a close, we look back at the best books we opened

Best of 2023: Classical music concerts

David Nice

No drop in orchestral high standards, and youth shines again

Best of 2023: Theatre

Matt Wolf

The National Theatre fielded hit after hit, and smaller venues scored as well

Best of 2023: Film


Kicking off the top choices of the year, theartsdesk's film critics cast their net wide

theartsdesk in Ravenna - Riccardo Muti passes on a lifetime's operatic wisdom

David Nice

Three unforgettable evenings with the most experienced living exponent of Italian opera

Powell and Pressburger: The Composers

Graham Rickson

Two musicians, both largely forgotten, gave the duo's films much of their power

Powell and Pressburger: A Celtic storm brewing

Kristin M Jones

The Archers stepped up their wartime campaign against materialism with the mystical Scottish romance 'I Know Where I'm Going!'

First Person: novelist Pip Adam on the sound of injustice

Pip Adam

Author Pip Adam describes how her time working in prisons and interest in the jurisprudence of noise gave life to her recent sci-fi novel, 'Audition'

Michael Powell: a happy time with Bartók’s Bluebeard

David Nice

Fine performers in perfect balance with fantastical visuals for this profound one-act opera

First Person: Natalia Franklin Pierce, Executive Director of Nonclassical, on 'creating a sense of belonging'

Natalia Franklin Pierce

On bringing classical music to wider audiences - and appealing for help in a good cause

Powell and Pressburger: In Prospero's Room

Nick Hasted

A magical day at Derek Jarman’s Dungeness cottage, dancing with the ghosts of Shakespeare, Powell and Pressburger

Powell and Pressburger: the glueman cometh

Graham Fuller

A perverse village magus plays god with three wartime pilgrims in 'A Canterbury Tale', the Archers' strangest film

theartsdesk at Wexford Festival Opera - four operas and a recital in one crazy day

David Nice

Youth takes the comedy award in fringe delights alongside a well-done schlocky rarity

Powell and Pressburger: Spy masters

Demetrios Matheou

Though less renowned, Powell and Pressburger’s wartime spy films put some of Alfred Hitchcock’s in the shade


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

latest in today

Music Reissues Weekly: Jon Savage's The Secret Public -...

Jon Savage's The Secret Public How The LGBTQ+ Aesthetic Shaped Pop Culture 1955-1979 accompanies the titular author/...

Jerry’s Girls, Menier Chocolate Factory review - just a para...

Catchy even when the lyrics are at their cheesiest, the Jerry Herman Songbook serves up a string of memorable tunes: you’ll probably find that,...

Punt and Dennis, The Marlowe, Canterbury review - satire and...

Ten years after their last tour Steve Punt and High Dennis are back on the road with We Are Not a Robot. It comes after their long-...

Album: Jihye Lee Orchestra - Infinite Connections

Brooklyn-based composer and bandleader Jihye Lee’s story really does take quite some telling. Having been an indie pop singer in her native...

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga review - just as mad without Max

In the way of Batman being overshadowed by his villains, in his last outing, Mad Max: Fury Road, the erstwhile hero of George Miller...

The Beach Boys, Disney+ review - heroes and villains and goo...

It was – let’s see – 63 years ago today that Brian Wilson taught the band to play. Fabled for their resplendent harmonies and ecstatic hymning of...

Album: Twenty One Pilots - Clancy

If there is one positive of the past decade, it must be the growing openness with...

Richard III, Shakespeare's Globe review - Michelle Terr...

There’s a fierce, dark energy to the Globe’s new Richard III that I don’t recall at that venue for a fair while. The drilled cast dances...

Kolesnikov, Wigmore Hall review - celestial navigation throu...

Like his baggy white suit, pitched somewhere between Liberace and Colonel Sanders, Pavel Kolesnikov’s playing was spotless at the...