The head of music at a Watford school has paid tribute to a world famous conductor whose musical legacy “shall serve as an inspiration for future generations”.

Sir Andrew Davis, who was perhaps most popularly known for conducting the Last Night of The Proms, died on Saturday at the age of 80.

Born in Hertfordshire in 1944, Sir Andrew attended Watford Grammar School for Boys from 1955 to 1962.

Even as a young student, his musical ability shone through. He was a member of the school choir, the orchestra, played piano and violin at school and the organ for his parish church.

As a school boy his talents extended beyond music with outstanding achievement academically too.

He left the Rickmansworth Road school to study an Organ Scholarship at King's College, Cambridge in 1963 and went on to achieve international acclaim as a conductor.

Watford Observer: Sir Andrew Davis was a former Watford Grammar School for Boys pupilSir Andrew Davis was a former Watford Grammar School for Boys pupil (Image: Dario Acosta)

The school’s director of music Francis Mullaly said: “He was an exceptional conductor, highly talented and had such a distinguished career. It is an honour to be part of a school that counts such a remarkable person as an alumnus. His passing is a sad loss indeed.

“The musical legacy that Sir Andrew Davis leaves behind shall serve as an inspiration for future generations of musicians and conductors.”

Conductor Julian Lloyd Webber tweeted: “Sad to learn of the death of Sir Andrew Davis.

“A great musician who was wonderful with his soloists. I treasure the memory of a lovely Delius Concerto in 2012.”

Sir Andrew made his debut conducting at the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London in 1970 and that same year was named associate conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

He was principal conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra from 1975-88; chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra from 1989-2000; Glyndebourne Festival Opera music director 1988-2000, and held the honorary title of conductor emeritus from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

He was also principal conductor of Lyric Opera Of Chicago from 2000-2021 and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s conductor laureate and chief conductor from 2013-2019.

Sir Andrew was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) and in 1999 he was knighted in the New Year Honours.

His last public appearance was in December with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, when he conducted Handel’s Messiah at the Symphony Centre.

His wife Gianna Rolandi died in 2021 and the couple are survived by their son Edward Frazier Davis.