Emeritus Director of Music
Adrian Davis hails from Wiltshire, and most of his life has been involved in music education, first as the Director of Music in a Grammar School and Parish Church in Torquay in Devon and later, for twenty-four years, at Berkhamsted School where he established a strong musical tradition in both choir and orchestra. Many of his students from the School have gone on to successful professional careers in music, and have returned to Berkhamsted to work with the man who inspired them. Since 1997 he has been Director of Music at St.Peter’s Church, Berkhamsted, where the church choir is now one of the very few choirs outside the major cathedrals to regularly sing a full Choral Evensong.
Adrian was awarded a scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music, where he studied composition with Edmund Rubbra and the organ with Nicholas Danby and Harold Dexter. During this period he deputised at Southwark Cathedral on many occasions and won the August Manns Prize for organ.
Since 1976 Adrian has been an Examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, for whom he has travelled worldwide. In 1987 he was elected to a Fellowship at Keble College, Oxford to engage in study of 18th century vocal practices. He continues to compose music for various occasions, including a piece for St. Peter’s Choir to sing during the Queen’s visit to the church in 2016. He also composed a work in commemoration of those who died in the terrorist outrage in Nice, which was very well received by audiences in the South of France (including the cathedrals of Agde and Maguelone) during last summer’s concert tour by the CCC. He regularly performs with the chamber group Serenata both in and outside the UK demonstrating his considerable keyboard skills which are occasionally overlooked as a result of his conducting.
Adrian is the founder and conductor of the Chiltern Chamber Choir, which last summer celebrated its 40th anniversary and with whom he has given over 300 concerts in the UK and in several countries in Europe. The CCC has sung several joint concerts with the Madrid Bach Choir, principally of the major choral works of Bach and Handel, not only in Berkhamsted and Madrid but also Zaragoza and Seville. Two of these joint concerts were recorded and broadcast by Spanish Television (TVE). Adrian has also been Guest Conductor in joint concerts with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Choir in Berlin and Leipzig as part of the Mendelssohnfest. With St.Peter’s Choir he has made recordings and directed concerts in Cathedrals and Palaces on tours to Venice, Santiago de Compostella and Vienna.
Adrian has been the Director of Bridgewater Sinfonia since its foundation (as the Bridgewater Band) in 1998. Over the almost twenty years, he has built up the orchestra to a point where it regularly performs symphonic works and concerti by all the major composers at St Peter’s and gives opportunities for young soloists to showcase their exceptional talents in an unusually supportive context. The orchestra has attained the level at which it can attract soloists of the level of John Lill, the first Briton to win the Tchaikovsky Prize in Moscow, and even a guest conductor from Russia (Michail Shcherbakov). At the same time, the orchestra has invited young soloists whose careers are just taking off, such as Florian Mitrea (from Rumania) and most recently, Dinara Klinton from the Ukraine.
In 2017, the Rotary Club of Berkhamsted presented Adrian with a Rotary Civic Award in recognition of his achievements.
Adrian has contributed so much to the musical scene in Berkhamsted and to its international projection for over 40 years and is a deserving and worthy recipient of this civic honour.