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Max as master

British composer and conductor Peter Maxwell Davies has been appointed the UK's Master of the Queen's Music. The position is an honorary one, traditionally conferred on a musician of distinction. Since the time of George V, the position has involved no fixed duties, although pieces may be written for special royal or state occasions.

Twentieth century appointees were Walter Parratt (from 1893), Edward Elgar (from 1924), Walford Davies (from 1934), Arnold Bax (from 1942), Arthur Bliss (from 1953) and Malcolm Williamson (from 1975 until his death in March 2003). Traditionally the appointment has been for life, but the tenure has now been changed to ten years, to give more composers the chance to take up this honorary position.

Maxwell Davies, aged 69, will receive an honorary stipend as part of his new position, and lives in the Orkney Islands. He recently completed ten years as conductor/composer of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London and the BBC Philharmonic in Manchester. He has also conducted many orchestras in Europe and North America, and is Composer Laureate of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Nearly three hundred of his works have been published. His theatrical works include the operas Taverner and The Lighthouse and ballets Salome and Caroline Mathilde. His orchestral music includes eight symphonies, fourteen concertos and the popular Orkney Wedding with Sunrise. He has written many works for performance by children, and is currently writing a cycle of ten string quartets.



Posted: 7 March 2004

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