Composer

Peter Maxwell Davies

Peter Maxwell Davies

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies universally acknowledged as one of the foremost composers of our time.

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies has made a significant contribution to musical history through his wide - ranging and prolific output. He lives in the Orkney Islands o ff the north coast of Scotland, where he writes most of his music. In a worklist that spans more than five decades, he has written across a broad range of styles, yet his music always communicates directly and powerfully, whether in his profoundly argued s ymphonic works, his music -theatre works or witty light orchestral works. Maxwell Davies’ major dramatic works include full - length ballets Salome and Caroline Mathilde , music - theatre works Eight Songs for a Mad King and Miss  Donnithorne's Maggot, and oper as Resurrection , The Lighthouse , The Doctor of Myddfai , and Taverner , which was recently released by NMC Records on a Grammy - nominated disc with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Oliver Knussen. Maxwell Davies’s most recent opera Kommilitonen! (Young Blood!) received critical acclaim for its world premiere run of performances at London’s Royal Academy of Music , with The Daily Telegraph labelling the composer “A Master Symphonis t”. Maxwell Davies’ huge output of orchestral work comprises ten symphonies - hailed by The Times as “the most important symphonic cycle since Shostakovich” – as well as numerous concerti including the Strathclyde Concerto series and most recently his violin concerto Fiddler on the Shore , written for Daniel Hope and first performed in 2009 by the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and at the BBC Proms. Maxwell Davies’ light orchestral works include An Orkney Wedding with Sunrise and Mavis in Las Vegas, and five large - scale works for chorus including the oratorio Job . His latest series is the landmark cycle of ten string quartets, the Naxos Quartets , described in the Financial Times as “ one of the most impressive musical statements of our time” . Recent highlights include Maxwell Davies’ Ninth Symphony, co - commissioned by the Liverpool Philharmonic and Helsinki Philharmonic , which received its world premiere in summer 2012 to great critical acclaim . Maxwell Davies’ latest major work is his Tenth Symphony, commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra , Orchestra of  the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra , to be premiered by LSO at the Barbican Centre in February 2014. Other notable premieres of the 2013/14 season include Ebb of Winter , premiered by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in November 2013 and a new work for organ, brass and children’s choir, commissioned by Southbank Centre in celebration of the newly restored Royal  Festival Hall organ and premiered in March 2014. Maxwell Davies has held the position of Composer/Conductor with both the Royal Philharmonic and BBC Philharmonic Orchestras. He has guest -conducted orchestras including the Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco  Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra , Russian National Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestra. He retains close links with the St Magnus Festival, Orkney’s annual arts festival which he founded in 1977,is Composer Laureate of  the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Visiting Professor at Canterbury Christchurch University and the Royal Academy of Music. Many of Maxwell Davies’ works have been recorded over the years, and most recently Naxos launched a major re - release of a seventeen  disc series of recordings including a number of significant works such as the symphonies, The Lighthouse, An Orkney Wedding with Sunrise and the Strathclyde concerti. Maxwell Davies was knighted in 1987 and 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 made a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour (CH) in the New Year 2014 Honours List.