Peter Maxwell Davies
Peter Maxwell Davies
He took piano lessons and composed from an early age. After education at Leigh Grammar School, he studied at the University of Manchester and at the Royal Manchester College of Music (amalgamated into the Royal Northern College of Music in 1973), where his fellow students included Harrison Birtwistle, Alexander Goehr, Elgar Howarth and John Ogdon. Together they formed New Music Manchester, a group committed to contemporary music. After graduating in 1956, he briefly studied with Goffredo Petrassi in Rome before working as Director of Music at Cirencester Grammar School from 1959 to 1962. After a further period of study on a Harkness Fellowship at Princeton University with Roger Sessions, Milton Babbitt and Earl Kim, Davies moved to Australia, where he was Composer in Residence at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide from 1965-66. He then returned to the United Kingdom, and moved to the Orkney Islands, initially to Hoy in 1971 and later to Sanday.
Orkney (particularly its capital, Kirkwall) hosts the St Magnus Festival, an arts festival founded by Davies in 1977. He frequently uses it to premier new works (often played by the local school orchestra). Davies was Artistic Director of the Dartington Summer School from 1979 to 1984 and has held a number of posts. From 1992 to 2002 he was associate conductor/composer with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and he has conducted a number of other prominent orchestras, including the Philharmonia, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. During his career he was awarded a number of honorary doctorates at various institutions. He was President of Making Music (The National Federation of Music Societies) from 1989.
Davies was made a CBE in 1981 and knighted in 1987. He was appointed Master of the Queen's Music for a ten-year period from March 2004. Davies had a keen interest in environmentalism. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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