SIR PETER MAXWELL DAVIES, CBE (d: 2016), was an English composer and conductor born on this date. In 2004 he was made master of the Queen’s Music. As a student at both the University of Manchester and at the Royal Manchester College of Music, he formed a group dedicated to contemporary music, the New Music Manchester, with fellow students Harrison Birtwistle, Alexander Goehr, Elgar Howarth and John Ogdon.
His compositions include eight works for the stage, from the monodrama Eight Songs for a Mad King, which shocked the audience in 1969, to Kommilitonen!, first performed in 2011. He wrote ten symphonies, the first from 1973–76, the tenth (“Alla ricerca di Borromini”) in 2013.
As a conductor, he was Artistic Director of the Darlington Summer School from 1979 to 1984. From 1992 to 2002 he was associate conductor/composer with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he also held with the BBC Philharmonic.
Davies was out Gay. In 2007, a controversy arose regarding his intended civil partnership when he was told that the ceremony could not take place on the Sanday Light Railway. He later abandoned his plans. He remained with his partner Colin Parkinson until their relationship ended in 2012. He died in March 2016