Born and educated in Edinburgh, he studied the trumpet at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London before pursuing a freelance career performing and teaching. He was Principal Trumpet of Manchester Camerata from 1989-2001 and was responsible for developing their education and outreach programme between 1996-2002. Gavin was appointed General Manager of Manchester Camerata in 2002 and in 2004, became one of the first Fellows on the Clore Leadership Programme.
He is currently a Trustee of IMPACT Scotland (International Music and Performing Arts Charitable Trust), the organisation established to develop a new mid-scale performance venue – and home for the SCO - in the heart of Edinburgh city centre. He is also a Governor of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and previously served for six years as a Director of the Association of British Orchestras.
Gavin was elected Chair of the ABO in November 2017.