BIOGRAPHY 168 Words (June 2014)
Victor Davies’ music ranges from children’s songs for television to chamber music, symphonies, choral music, ballet, opera, musical theatre having been commissioned by such performers as, The Winnipeg Symphony, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, The Boss Brass, Ofra Harnoy, Vancouver Symphony, Bramwell Tovey and Manitoba Opera. He has written scores for radio, film and television, for CBC, CTV, NFB, PBS, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Bros. In 2003 he received a Gemini for his score for “Honour Before Glory“. His works, heard live and on record, performed by acclaimed performers, have been broadcast and televised worldwide.
Victor Davies was born in Winnipeg, studied at the University of Manitoba and Indiana University, and with Pierre Boulez in Switzerland. He began his varied career as a freelance composer, pianist and conductor by working with Winnipeg’s major artistic organizations and artists. Since moving to Toronto -where he now resides- he has gained an international audience and a reputation as one of Canada’s outstanding composers. Victor Davies can found on the web at www.victordavies.com
BIOGRAPHY 99 Words (June 2014)
VICTOR DAVIES Composer www.victordavies.com
Winnipeg-born pianist and conductor Victor Davies is one of Canada’s outstanding composers. His works have been heard live and on record and have been broadcast and televised worldwide. His music ranges from opera, musical theatre, ballet, choral music, symphony, and chamber music to children’s songs for television. Mr. Davies has also written scores for radio, film, and TV including work for CBC, CTV, NFB, PBS, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Bros.
Now based in Toronto, Mr. Davies studied at the University of Manitoba from which he received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws and Indiana University.
BIOGRAPHY 106 Words (June 2014)
Victor Davies is one of Canada’s outstanding composers. His works are heard live and on record and are been broadcast and televised worldwide. His music ranges from operas (Transit of Venus; Ernest, The Importance Of Being; Beowulf), musical theatre, ballet (The Big Top for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet), choral music, 3 symphonies, and chamber music to children’s songs for television. Mr. Davies has also written award winning scores for radio, film, and TV for CBC, CTV, NFB, PBS, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Bros. His music has been performed by The London Symphony Orchestra; Montreal, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Toronto Symphony Orchestras in Canada, Manitoba Opera, Montreal Chamber Orchestra and The Vandermark Ensemble at Carnegie Hall and in the Philadelphia Orchestra Chamber Series. Davies studied at the University of Manitoba from which he received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws and Indiana University.
BIOGRAPHY 547 words (June 2014)
Victor Davies www.victordavies.com
Born in Winnipeg, Victor Davies attended the University of Manitoba, Indiana University, and studied conducting with Pierre Boulez. During his career as a composer, pianist and conductor, he has created works for The Manitoba Theatre Centre, The Winnipeg Symphony, Contemporary Dancers and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and written film scores for dramas and documentaries in a variety of styles, for CBC, CTV, the National Film Board of Canada and many independent producers. He composed for and performed with his own jazz group and was commissioned to write the first major score for planetarium production, The Beginning and End of the World, recorded with Skitch Henderson.
Davies’ best known work, The Mennonite Piano Concerto, commissioned by Winnipeg’s Fast Foundation, was recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra with pianist Irmgard Baerg and conductor Boris Brott. His music ranges from children’s songs – he wrote music and lyrics for over 600 songs for the CTV seriesLet’s Go! and The Rockets – to his major oratorio Revelation for soloists, chorus and orchestra. His theatre works include Beowulf, staged in New York; the musical Especially Babe for the Toronto Theatre Festival;The Musical Circus, performed at the Zagreb Biennial; The Big Top, commissioned by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (with 52 performances and TV special seen world wide, and available on CD); the theme songColours in the Dark, for Famous People Player’s Broadway show and American tour; and scores for the international award-winning films The Last Winter (Fox Video), The Nutcracker Prince (Warner Bros) andFor the Moment (20th Century Fox), recorded with musicians of the Czech Philharmonic. Davies has conducted the Winnipeg, Edmonton and Kitchener-Waterloo symphony orchestras and has been the conductor of his own film and television scores. He was musical director and composer for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 1999 Pan American Games working with well known Winnipeg performers Tracy Dahl, Henrietta Schellenberg, Fred Penner and the WSO conducted by Bramwell Tovey.
Davies’ music, aimed at a wide audience, is melodic, brilliantly orchestrated and has a sense of drama. Equally at home in the concert hall, theatre or recording studio, his music is heard around the world, live, via recordings, and film and television (he won a Gemini Award for best documentary score in 2002), and is sought after by artists such as Wayne Marshall, Bramwell Tovey, The Boss Brass, Ofra Harnoy and the Canadian Trio, to create works for them. In 2005 Silhouettes (Piano Trio No.) 1 was performed by the Vandermark Ensemble at Carnegie Hall and his comic opera The Importance Of Being Ernest premiered in a concert performance at Stratford Summer Music.
Works in recent years include Transit of Venus, a full length opera commissioned by Manitoba Opera in 2007, Earnest, The Importance Of Being (adapted from the chamber opera The Importance Of Being Ernest) premiered 2008 by the Toronto Operetta Theatre and Concerto for Tubameister and Orchestracommissioned for tubameister Jc Sherman of Cleveland premiered 2008 in Vancouver, the orchestral premiere in 2009 with tubist Chris Lee and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
His second Violin Concerto (The Journey) commissioned for and premiered by Rosemary Siemens in 2012 was issued on CD by the Winnipeg Symphony. He is currently working on pieces for concert band as well as three operas.
BIOGRAPHY with quotes: 1670 words (June 2014)
Victor Davies www.victordavies.com
“The music of composer Victor Davies has a lot to do with exhilaration.”
What Davies does is perform that rare marriage between classical and contemporary music … in which everyone lives happily ever after.” (Liz Braun – Toronto Sun)
One of Canada’s most performed classical composers, Victor Davies is internationally known for his broad range of music. His scores for film, television and concert hall have been heard on television and radio throughout Europe, the USA and Asia. Using a panoply of contemporary musical styles for inspiration, Davies injects familiar classical forms with heady infusions of colorful and explosive jazz-rock elements. “Once you listen you’re hooked.” (Ray Chatlin – Vancouver Province)
The astonishing variety of works composed by Victor Davies … be it for full orchestra and a sophisticated musical audience, or for one banjo and a child, exhibit the irrepressible certainty of what Winnipeg Free Press music critic James Manishen identifies as “a gift for a good tune.”
Davies’ Revelation, an oratorio for five soloists, massed choir and symphony orchestra, has had three successful performances, a CBC radio broadcast and a CBC TV special – Adrienne Clarkson Presentsfollowing its Winnipeg premiere. It was the first live CBC Radio presentation on the Internet in September 1996, was the final concert of Festival Canada in Ottawa, July 19, 1997, and has since had readings of the choral music in the US, and a performance in Hamilton with young rising soloists including Winnipeg’s dramatic tenor Kurt Lehman as John.
“Davies’ extraordinary work [Revelation 1996} was an electric performance. For me it was the most stunning musical event in recent memory.” (Adrienne Clarkson CBC TV)
“… a masterful oratorio … The music is focused and graspable, its intentions genuinely heartfelt and sincere. It is Handelian inspiration viewed through a cinemascopic prism, with Mahlerian scaled heaven-storming aptly placed and effective. Revelation is a celebration of life, faith and music.” (James Manishen – Winnipeg Free Press)
“Davies’ melodic skill assured that his ‘gospel with a swing’ Salvation to God And To The Lamb could stand next to the choral successes of Handel’s Messiah or Mendelssohn’s Elijah.” (Professor John Martens-Concord College Winnipeg)
“Grand in scope, fervent in expression, apocalyptic in its vision, the oratorio Revelation made a deeply moving impression …as the grand finale to Festival Ottawa’s four week program at the National Arts Centre……only the second performance…..but the work has already made its mark as one of the most significant large-scaled Canadian compositions of the late 20th century. ….the chorus delivers one memorable number after another: the rhythmically powerful…infectiously joyful…the poignant…and the radiant… Masterpiece may be too strong a word, for Revelation, but in its simplicity and sincerity, it seemed to touch virtually the entire audience.” ( Robert Markow The Globe and Mail)
“I have little doubt Davies’ work is a masterpiece. It is gloriously tuneful, brilliantly orchestrated and has all the aleatory chaos, harsh, brassy dissonances and driving percussive rhythms…used …in stunning effective emotional contexts that tells a tale the human ear not only can easily comprehend, but is aching to hear… ” (Hugh Fraser – Hamilton Spectator May 29, 2000)
The Big Top ballet, demonstrates Davies’ versatility, mastery and exuberance of style, and were perfect ingredients for this commission, premiered by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in 1986. Running for two consecutive seasons, it had 52 standing ovations on the RWB’s 52-performance Canadian tour in 1989, was subsequently filmed for CBC TV by Norman Campbell, with four successive Christmas CBC showings in Canada and was then shown worldwide in eleven countries, including the Bravo network. Universal appeal, critical acclaim, suitability for dance and heartfelt melodies are proven qualities of the score, giving it broad and dynamic audience appeal.
“…this is a wonderful eclectic musical score by Winnipeg born composer Victor Davies.” (Neil Harris Winnipeg Free Press)
“This piece is a little gem of inventiveness, with plenty of fine dancing, a witty design, and a strong score.” (Michael Scott-Vancouver Sun)
“The original score is lively and fresh.” (Greg Quill-Toronto Star)
The Mennonite Piano Concerto recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra (together with Good Times, a suite for orchestra) has become Davies best-known work. In Britain the CD ranked eighth in sales [five million listeners] for Classic FM Radio for 1995. It is syndicated on American and National Public Radio in the USA, with many performances on the CBC and BBC. It was recently performed live in Seattle Washington and Niagara Fall Ontario. In June 1999 it had its premiere performance in China at the Gala Finale concert of a Festival in Kunming China. A 2007 listener pole for the top 100 concertos of all time on Australian Radio (ABC) placed it at #50.
“The style of the music varies from Mozartian lightness in the second movement variations, to the lazy jazz syncopations of the first movement and the fun-making play with bells and percussion in the final movement. Davies is definitely a populist composer.” (David Doughly – Classic FM Magazine)
“In our day great talent is required to make traditional music respectable…. .there are many moving and delightful things throughout” Chester Duncan – Arts Manitoba
[The CD is] … “a thoroughly extroverted display vehicle for pianist Irmgard Baerg and the London Symphony Orchestra under Boris Brott, who together make the most of the work’s predominantly exuberant high spirits. The Davies concerto has already achieved a certain popularity, through its easy accessibility, its wide range of musical styles and its flashy piano writing.” (Barry Edwards-Music Magazine)
“The four movements of the Good Times Suite also emphasizes Davies’ smiling conviction that life is beautiful. In this day and age that’s rare. Performances are first rate, filled with vim and the recording very good.” (Henwell Tircuit – Fanfare Magazine)
Following the release of this CD, The Music of Victor Davies was released in Britain Europe, North America & Asia on the Campion label.
Internationally acclaimed films The Nutcracker Prince (Warner Brothers USA), The Last Winter [winner of nine international awards] and For the Moment, (Fox Video USA) in a variety of styles, challenged Davies’ love of drama and collaboration to custom design scores for that medium, with soundtracks recorded in Britain, Canada and the Czech Republic.
“The film’s (The Nutcracker Prince) asset is its score, performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and featuring clever music by Victor Davies.” (Motion Picture Guide Review)
“For The Moment evokes enough wartime nostalgia to let the music stand by itself, independent of pictorial images. Especially so in the sprightly big band tunes which comprise about half the disc and are delivered in a whistle-clean style by a nicely ignited big band from Prague.” (James Manishen – Winnipeg Free Press)
Some of Davies’ other theatre and media creations include – the first major score for planetarium, The Beginning and End of the World recorded with Skitch Henderson, the rock opera Beowulf, staged in New York, the musical, Especially Babe for Toronto’s Young Peoples Theatre, the children’s musicals The Magic Trumpet and Reginald the Robot both premiered at the Manitoba Theatre Centre, and Pirates! for the Charlottetown Festival. Davies has composed music and lyrics for over 600 children’s songs for CTV’s top-rated children’s series Let’s Go! and The Rockets, and music for the Grammy award-winning Boss Brass, and the Famous People Players Broadway show and American tour.
More recent works include the orchestra premiere of his chamber score Yukon Scenes; a piano quartet For Jennifer: Remembrances, for Theodore J Arcand, and an Automotive Romance: Concerto for Car Horn & Orchestra for the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations. He was composer and musical director for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg. In 2001, Wayne Marshall, (1998 BBC Musician of the Year), premiered Davies’ Jazz Concerto for Organ & Orchestra with the Calgary Philharmonic, commissioned by the Calgary International Organ Festival and was heard on CBC and American Public Radio (Michael Barone’s Pipe Dreams). His choral commissionLifting The Sky, based on a traditional Salish legend with original poetry by American poet Carolyn Maddux, for the North American Welsh Choir premiered in the USA May 2001, and in Britain July 2002, In 2002, conductor Bramwell Tovey commissioned and premiered his Jazz Piano Concerto with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra for his Gala Farewell concert.
In August 2005 his comic opera based on The Importance Of Being Ernest was given an inaugural concert performance at Stratford Summer.
Recent works include Transit of Venus, a full length opera commissioned by Manitoba Opera, which premiered in November 2007.
……”.a Canadian masterpiece” …(Winnipeg Free Press) Gwenda Nemerofsky
Earnest, The Importance Of Being (an adaptation of the chamber opera The Importance Of Being Ernestinto operetta form) premiered in February 2008 by the Toronto Operetta Theatre.
Concerto for Tubameister and Orchestra commissioned for tubameister Jc Sherman of Cleveland premiered on September 26th 2008 in Vancouver. The orchestral premiere took place January 16th 2009 with tubist Chris Lee and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
“Tuba concerto kicks some brass in world debut”
“Horn’s lighthearted side revealed”
“…A rare showcase for the patriarch of the brass family gave Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra principal tuba Chris Lee a chance to demonstrate his prodigious talent, showing the light-hearted and jaunty side of the instrument, …great dynamic variation in the Theme & Variations, ..with impressive delicacy and sweet flow in Waltz for Franco, …and in Sancho Panza Goes to the Bull Fight a castanet enhanced paso doble engaging the tuba in trills, syncopation, and sky-high notes while the trumpets morphed into a mariachi band, all gracefully & precisely rendered by conductor Rei Hotoda”, (Winnipeg Free Press) Gwenda Nemerofsky
Victor Davies was born in Winnipeg, studied at the University of Manitoba and Indiana University, and with Pierre Boulez in Switzerland. He began his varied career as a freelance composer, pianist and conductor by working with Winnipeg’s major artistic organizations and artists. Since moving to Toronto -where he now resides- he has gained an international audience and a reputation as one of Canada’s outstanding composers.
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