It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, at the age of 81.
One of the foremost composers of our time, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies made a profound contribution to musical history in the UK and beyond through his wide-ranging and prolific output. His longstanding relationship with Schott spans more than 60 years, from the Sonata for Trumpet in D and Piano (1955) to his last major work, The Hogboon, a children’s opera completed in the last months of his life, which will receive its world premiere in June 2016 with Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra.
Recognised as a successor to the avant-garde generation of Ligeti, Lutosławski, Berio and Xenakis, as well as a composer of a distinctly British hue, Maxwell Davies’ output embraces every conceivable classical genre from symphonies and concertos to opera, music theatre, ballet, film, choral and more. He was also an experienced conductor, and had a lifelong commitment to community outreach and education, writing much music for young people. His keen sense of social responsibility was threaded through many of his works, touching on major issues such as war, the environment and politics.
Born in Salford, Lancashire on 8 September 1934, Maxwell Davies attended Royal Manchester College of Music where he was part of the so-called Manchester School with contemporaries Harrison Birtwistle, John Ogdon, Elgar Howarth, Richard Hall and Alexander Goehr. He later studied with Roger Sessions and Milton Babbitt. In 1971 Maxwell Davies moved to the Orkney Islands, where he founded the St Magnus Festival in 1977.
Maxwell Davies held the post of Master of the Queen’s Music from 2004–2014. He was knighted in 1987 and made a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour in the New Year 2014 Honours List. In February 2016, he was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal, the highest accolade the society can bestow, in recognition of outstanding musicianship.
Max (to all who knew him) passed away of leukaemia on 14 March 2016 at his home in Orkney. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this time.
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies was managed by Intermusica, and his works published by Boosey & Hawkes, Chester Music, and Schott Music.