Conductor Patrick Davin was an important champion of contemporary music, active in both orchestral music and opera. He worked closely with such composers as Henri Pousseur, Bruno Mantovani, and Philippe Boesmans.
Davin was born in Huy, Belgium, on February 16, 1962. His initial studies were on the violin at the local Académie de Huy. He moved on to the Royal Conservatory of Liège, where he studied violin, piano, harmony, and fugue, and then to the Conservatoire de Toulon in France. Davin's move into conducting came about in part through his having served as an assistant to contemporary composers who were his teachers, including Pierre Boulez, Peter Eötvös, and Luciano Berio.
From 1988 to 1999, Davin served as a professor of musical analysis at the Royal Conservatory of Liège, but he found himself increasingly in demand as a conductor after he founded small contemporary music groups of his own, the Synonymes and Pléonasme ensembles, and became a co-founder of the Orchestre Forlane. He conducted orchestras across Europe, many of them, including Boulez's Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris and the Klangforum in Berlin, oriented toward contemporary music. Davin also had a major career as an opera conductor, and in this field, he led productions of traditional repertory as well as contemporary music. He served as first guest conductor at the Opéra de Marseille in France and the Opéra royal de Wallonie in Belgium.
Davin recorded for the Marco Polo label beginning in 1994. Following the demise of that label, he was silent on recordings for some years, resurfacing on Fuga Libera in 2010 with a recording of composer Kris Defoort's House of the Sleeping Beauties. He also made several recordings for Dynamic. Davin was named director of the music department of the Royal Conservatory of Liège in 2020, but he died suddenly during a rehearsal on September 9 of that year. His recording of works by 19th century composer Léon Boëllmann with the Mulhouse Symphony Orchestra appeared posthumously in 2021.