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Dennis Russell Davies


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Dennis Russell Davies (born 16 April 1944, Toledo, Ohio, U.S.) is an American conductor and pianist. He studied piano and conducting at the Juilliard School of Music where he received his doctorate. He is a noted champion of living composers and modern music including Hans Werner Henze, William Bolcom, Lou Harrison, Alan Hovhaness, John Cage, Philip Glass, Giya Kancheli, Arvo Pärt, Virgil Thomson, and Aaron Copland. He has commissioned, premiered and recorded numerous pieces by living composers, along with the standard classical works. Of note are the recordings of Copland’s Appalachian Spring with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in 1979 for which he won a Grammy Award; Arvo Pärt Fratres and Miserere; and many of Philip Glass’s operas and symphonies including his 5th symphony which is dedicated to Davies. Lou Harrison’s 3rd Symphony is also dedicated to Davies.
He is currently (2009-2010 season) music director of the Sinfonieorchester Basel.

Davies served as Music Director of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (1972-80). Together with the composer Francis Thorne he founded the American Composers Orchestra, New York in 1977 and conducted that orchestra until 2002. In 1980, he moved to Stuttgart, Germany when he became the General Music Director of the Baden-Württemberg State Opera House (1980-1987).

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