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Summary Article: Davies, Peter Maxwell from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

English composer and conductor. His music combined medieval and serial techniques with a heightened expressionism as in his opera Taverner (1970), based on the life and works of the 16th-century composer John Taverner. Other works included the chamber opera The Lighthouse (1980), the music-theatre piece Miss Donnithorne's Maggot (1974), and the orchestral piece Mavis in Las Vegas (1997).

He was the associate conductor/composer of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the BBC Philharmonic, and the composer laureate of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Davies was born in Manchester. After training at the Royal Manchester College of Music 1952–56 alongside the British composers Alexander Goehr and Harrison Birtwistle, he studied with the Italian composer Goffredo Petrassi 1957–59. From 1959 to 1962 he taught music at Cirencester Grammar School, and from 1962 to 1964 he studied with the US composer Roger Sessions at Princeton University. He co-founded the Pierrot Players ensemble in 1967 (renamed the Fires of London in 1970) with Birtwistle. From 1970 he was based in Orkney.

WorksStageEight Songs for a Mad King, music-theatre piece for voice and ensemble (1969), Nocturnal Dances (1970), Taverner, opera (1972), Miss Donnithorne's Maggot, music-theatre piece for mezzo and ensemble (1974), The Martyrdom of St Magnus, chamber opera (1977), The Two Fiddlers, opera for children (1978), The Lighthouse, chamber opera (1980), Resurrection, opera (1987), Caroline Mathilde, ballet (1990), The Doctor of Myddfai, opera (1996).

OrchestralWorldes Blis (1968), Vesalii Icones for dancer, cello, and ensemble (1969), Ave Maris Stella, for chamber ensemble (1975), six symphonies (1976, 1981, 1985, 1989, 1994, 1996), violin concerto (1986), ten Strathclyde concertos, for various instruments (1987–95).

VocalO Magnum Mysterium, four carols a cappella (1960), Hymn to St Magnus for mezzo and instruments (1972), Fiddlers at the Wedding for mezzo and instruments (1974), Black Pentecost for mezzo, baritone, and orchestra (1982), Into the Labyrinth, cantata (1983).


Davies, Peter Maxwell

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