Master of the Queen’s Music and renowned composer, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, looks back on his career spanning more than 50 years.
He talks about studying at college and university in Manchester and reflects on his controversial early work, which prompted a mass walkout at the BBC Proms in the 1960s. Sir Peter also describes how the music he writes now often takes inspiration from his adopted home, the Orkney Islands.
This clip features the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra rehearsing ‘Overture: St. Francis of Assisi’.
Maxwell Davies provides a compelling rationale for the importance of listening to and playing new music. As a composer, he stresses the importance of environment and writing for players he knows. The points he raises make for a rich classroom discussion activity. Maxwell Davies' work frequently shocked audiences and critics in the 1960s. Comparisons could be made to other composers whose works were considered shocking and ground-breaking at the time.