Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
Born: September 8th, 1934
Country of origin: United Kingdom
Conductor: John Storgårds
August 9th, 2014 | Cadogan Hall - London - United Kingdom
Last Door of Light
Conductor: Ben Gernon
September 14th, 2014 | City Halls - Glasgow - United Kingdom
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies was born in 1934 in Salford, Manchester. He studied with Richard Hall at the Royal Manchester College of Music, where together with Harrison Birtwistle, Alexander Goehr and John Ogdon he formed the New Music Manchester Group. He continued his studies with Goffredo Petrassi in Rome. Since the early 1970s he has made his home in the Orkney Islands north-west of the Scottish mainland.
Maxwell Davies' major works include the operas Taverner, Resurrection, The Lighthouse and The Doctor of Myddfai; the full-length ballets Salome and Caroline Mathilde, and the music-theatre works Eight Songs for a Mad King and Miss Donnithorne's Maggot. His huge output of orchestral works includes eight symphonies - hailed by The Times as "the most important symphonic cycle since Shostakovich" - fourteen concertos, several light orchestral works including An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise and Mavis in Las Vegas, five large-scale works for chorus including the oratorio Job. His most recent series is the landmark cycle of ten string quartets, the Naxos Quartets.
Maxwell Davies is also internationally active as a conductor, having held the position of Composer/Conductor with the Royal Philharmonic and the BBC Philharmonic. He has guest-conducted orchestras including the Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Russian National Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic and the Philharmonia Orchestra. He retains close links with the St Magnus Festival, Orkney's annual arts festival which he founded in 1977, and is the Composer Laureate of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
Recent orchestral scores with Schott include Last Door of Light for the Camerata Salzburg and Carinthischer Sommer, Overture to St Fancis of Assisi for the BBC SSO as part of Glasgow's festival celebrating his 75th birthday in 2009, and Reel of Spindrift, Sky for the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq (2011). His Ninth Symphony was premiered at the 2013 Proms and his Tenth will receive its world premiere in London's Barbican Hall by the London Symphony Orchestra and the london Symphony Chorus conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano on 2 February 2014.
Maxwell Davies was appointed Master of the Queen's Music in 2004 in which role he has sought to raise the profile of music in Great Britain, as well as writing many works for Her Majesty the Queen and for royal occasions. He was given the Freedom of the City of Salford in 2004 and has received numerous honorary doctorates.