Northwestern University Professor Emeritus Laurence Davisa professional pianist-accompanist, longtime Bienen School of Music educator and former associate conductor/principal coach-accompanist for Lyric Opera of Chicagodied April 23 in Evanston following a brief illness. He was 86.
A native Australian, Davis received numerous musical prizes as a young pianist, including Sydney's Daily Telegraph piano competition, at the age of 17. Two years later, he was awarded First Prize at Australia's most prestigious music contest, the Australian Broadcast Commission's Concerto and Vocal Competition.
Davis' professional performance career centered on the accompaniment of both vocal and instrumental soloists, including Australian dramatic coloratura Dame Joan Sutherland, German lyric mezzo-soprano Christa Ludwig and Australian lyric bass-baritone Walter Berry.
In addition to concert appearances in the United States and Canada, Davis also performed, lectured and led master classes around the world, including Japan, Mexico, Australia, Cuba, South America and the Caribbean.
A professor of piano, Davis joined the Bienen School faculty in 1965; he retired in 1998. Following his retirement, he was the manager and designer of the University's Study Abroad program in Thailand for eight years.
Davis was the son of Lewis and Sadie Zines Davis. He is survived by one brother, Winston Davis, of Melbourne, Australia; by his Thai companion and friend, Anan Pomthong; and by many of his devoted students, colleagues and friends here and around the world.
Davis' friends in Thailand are planning a memorial service in mid-June in Pattaya. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org .