Born to a Jewish family, with roots in Poland and Russia, Davis began studying piano at the age of seven. He attended his first opera three years later.
After attending the New England Conservatory of Music and graduating from Bard College, Davis worked with the New York City Opera and toured with choral conductor Robert Shaw as accompanist. He relocated to England after marrying British actress Jean Boht in 1971.
Appointed artistic director and conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra's summer pops season in 1993, Davis serves as vice chancellor of the University of Liverpool.
Davis was made a Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French ministry of culture. ~ Craig Harris, Rovi