On Monday this week the memorial concert for our late President, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, took place in London. Representatives from Help Musicians UK, including Trustees, were able to attend and join in the celebration of his life.
Held at St John Smith’s Square, the venue was a fitting choice to remember him. Previously used for over 200 years as a church, it now plays host to a variety of classical concerts. The hall was filled with many friends, family, colleagues and students: all gathered to remember Sir Peter through his music.
The morning opened with “Lullabye for Lucy”, performed by the Centre for Young Musicians Chamber Choir, conducted by Lynda Richardson. Many of Sir Peter’s friends, fellow composers and past students took the floor to speak about his achievements throughout the different stages of his life. Speakers included composers Robert Saxton, Sally Beamish and Judith Weir, Musical Director of the Royal Opera House, Antonio Pappano and actor and musician, Andrew Branch.
Music included “Farewell to Stromness” performed by Antonio Pappano, “The Seven Brightnesses” performed by music student Charlie Dale-Harris and a premier performance of a movement from an unfinished string quartet Sir Peter was working on before he passed away. This was performed by the Behn Quartet, a group Help Musicians UK supported through our Career Development Bursaries earlier this year.
Trustee Adrian Bradbury said: “I found the memorial service a truly moving and inspirational event. I was so pleased I was able to attend to celebrate the life of such a great composer and teacher”.
Other forthcoming events in memory of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies include ‘Remembering Max’, featuring the his works for the schools and choirs of Orkney on 18 September at St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall; and English Chamber Orchestra’s ‘A Concert for Max’, presented by BBC Radio 3’s Tom Service on 4 November at Kings Place, London.