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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). There he premiered two Phillip Glass operas along with many standard operas with often innovative and unusual staging productions. He has worked with many directors including Robert Altman (they did Strauss's Salome in Hamburg). He has also held permanent posts with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Beethovenhalle Bonn (1987-1995), the Vienna Radio Orchestra, and the Bruckner Symphony in Linz.

Davies has also led many festival orchestras including the Aspen music festival, the Cabrillo Music Festival, the Saratoga Music Festival and he conducted The Flying Dutchman at the Bayreuth Festival as the second American to ever conduct there and one of the youngest (1978-80). Davies is a Professor of Orchestral Conducting at the Salzburg Mozarteum.

He is currently (2009-2010 season) music director of the Sinfonieorchester Basel.

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