David Adam Cairns
, born in Loughton, Essex on 8 June 1926, is a British journalist, non-fiction writer and musician. He is a leading authority on the life of Berlioz.
His work in journalism has spanned a number of high profile newspapers and magazines. He was chief music critic of the Sunday Times from 1983 to 1992, having earlier been Music Critic and Arts Editor of The Spectator. Other publications for which he has been a music critic include The Evening Standard, The Financial Times and The New Statesman.
He is known for his monumental two-volume biography of Berlioz: Berlioz: The Making of an Artist 1803—1832
and Berlioz: Servitude and Greatness 1832-1869
. The books won a number of major awards, including:
- The Royal Philharmonic Society's Music award
- The Yorkshire Post "Book of the Year" award
- The British Academy's Derek Allen prize
- The Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction
- Biography of the year in the Whitbread Book Awards
Cairns also translated Berlioz's autobiography, published by Gollancz in UK in 1969.
In Mozart and his Operas
(2006) Cairns says part of his music's appeal is its simultaneous embodiment of both "the perfection our souls long for and the sensation of our longing."
He fiounded and conducts the Thorington Players, a London-based orchestra that plays regularly in St Mary's Church, Putney and St. John's, Smith Square.