Sir Alexander Drummond Gibson was a leading British conductor, known especially for late Romantic-era and British music performances.
He studied piano at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, continuing his musical studies at Glasgow University. He won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London in 1948, as a piano student.
While there, he formed and conducted a student orchestra. This convinced the administration to allow him to enter the conducting course. At the Mozarteum in Salzburg he studied with Igor Markevitch, and then in Siena with Paul van Kampen.
He was a rehearsal coach at Sadler's Wells Opera in London beginning in 1951. His professional conducting debut was the next year, in Smetana's opera The Bartered Bride. In the same year he took the position as associate conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, in Glasgow. After 1954 he returned to a staff conducting position at Sadler's Wells.
In 1957 he made his debut conducting at Covent Garden. In 1959 he returned to Scotland as principal conductor of the Scottish National Orchestra. He founded the Scottish Opera, also in Glasgow, and was appointed its music director. He remained in that position until 1987 and with the orchestra until 1984. With the opera, he conducted the first totally uncut performance of Berlioz's Les Troyens. During that period he was especially well-known for his performances of Sibelius and of British composers, but he also was interested in the most advanced music, premiering Stockhausen's Gruppen in Glasgow in 1961.
From 1981 to 1983 Gibson was the principal guest conductor of the Houston Symphony Orchestra.