Peter Maxwell Davies

Maxwell Davies’ dramatic works include operas TavernerResurrectionThe Lighthouse and The Doctor of Myddfai, full-length ballets Salome and Caroline Mathilde, and music-theatre pieces Eight Songs for a Mad King and Miss Donnithorne's Maggot. His extensive output of orchestral writing comprises eight symphonies, numerous concerti, and light orchestral pieces including An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise and Mavis in Las Vegas; he has also written five large-scale works for chorus, including the oratorio Job.

Composer/Conductor with the Royal Philharmonic and BBC Philharmonic Orchestras, and has conducted orchestras including the Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra 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 Composer Laureate of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Recent and current commissions include a violin concerto for the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Daniel Hope, orchestral works for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Camerata Salzburg, and a piano concerto for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Angela Hewitt.

Maxwell Davies was knighted in 1987 and appointed Master of the Queen's Music in 2004, in which role he seeks to raise the profile of music in Great Britain, as well as composing  for Her Majesty the Queen and for royal occasions.

Biography

Maxwell Davies’ dramatic works include operas TavernerResurrectionThe Lighthouse and The Doctor of Myddfai, full-length ballets Salome and Caroline Mathilde, and music-theatre pieces Eight Songs for a Mad King and Miss Donnithorne's Maggot. His extensive output of orchestral writing comprises eight symphonies, numerous concerti, and light orchestral pieces including An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise and Mavis in Las Vegas; he has also written five large-scale works for chorus, including the oratorio Job.

Composer/Conductor with the Royal Philharmonic and BBC Philharmonic Orchestras, and has conducted orchestras including the Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra 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 Composer Laureate of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Recent and current commissions include a violin concerto for the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Daniel Hope, orchestral works for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Camerata Salzburg, and a piano concerto for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Angela Hewitt.

Maxwell Davies was knighted in 1987 and appointed Master of the Queen's Music in 2004, in which role he seeks to raise the profile of music in Great Britain, as well as composing  for Her Majesty the Queen and for royal occasions.

Recordings by this composer

Recordings
Taverner

Taverner

NMC Recordings

The long-awaited recording of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies' iconoclastic opera based on the life of 16th-century composer John Taverner, recorded by BBC Radio 3 in 1996.

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Mr Emmet Takes a Walk Album Cover

Mr Emmet Takes A Walk

Psappha

Mr Emmet Takes a Walk is a musical depiction of a man's life flashing before his eyes in the moments before his suicide on a railway line. The chamber opera comprises of Mr Emmet's thoughts, memories, and ideas, told through musical fragments derived from material by four other composers; J.S. Bach, Robert Schumann, Andrea Gabrieli,
and W.A. Mozart

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Miss Donithornes Maggot Album Cover

Peter Maxwell Davies: Miss Donnithorne's Maggot

Psappha

After announcing their new partnership with NMC Recordings – coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the Manchester-based ensemble and record label – Psappha is delighted to re-issue a recording from their catalogue featuring works by close collaborator and the ensemble’s founding Patron, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, performed by the Psappha ensemble and the late Jane Manning.

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Eight Songs for a Mad King

Peter Maxwell Davies: Eight Songs for a Mad King

Psappha

This recording was made in 2012 and was supervised by the composer, making this the first recording of the work to have had the direct involvement of 'Max' since the 1971 recording by his own ensemble, The Fires of London. Psappha performed Eight Songs for a Mad King more than 70 times and worked closely with the composer to fine-tune the performance of one of his most iconic works to be as close as possible to what he intended.

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Compilations with this composer

Compilations
Sound Census CD Cover

Endymion: Sound Census

NMC Recordings

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New Music Collections - Piano

New Music Collections - Piano

NMC Recordings

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Sea Eagle

Sea Eagle

NMC Recordings

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The NMC Songbook

The NMC Songbook

NMC Recordings

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Variations for Judith

Variations for Judith

NMC Recordings

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Fantastic Islands

Psappha: Fantastic Islands

Psappha

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Music Map

Discover more about the classical music of today with NMC's Music Map, and exciting and educational online tool which enables you to see and hear the connections between composers, their teachers, pupils, influences and their works.

Music Map