Victor Davies, LL.D., June 7, 2007

Victor Davies

B.Mus. (Indiana)
Victor Davies was born in Winnipeg, where he graduated from Kelvin High School and attended the University of Manitoba for two years. He received a Bachelor of Music degree in composition from Indiana in 1964 and later studied conducting with Pierre Boulez in Switzerland.
Over the span of his professional career, he has established himself as a composer who speaks to a broadly based audience in a musical language of the people. His eclecticism is evident in the media for which he has written and the works he has composed. Because the list of his published and performed compositions is lengthy, a summary of his works will have to suffice.

In order to establish a more national presence, he left Winnipeg in 1977 and took up residence in Toronto. However, Manitoba has continued to benefit from the talents of this native son. He has written works for the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Winnipeg's Contemporary Dancers, the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Mennonite Oratorio Choir. This next season, the Manitoba Opera will premiere his new opera, "Transit of Venus," a three-act opera based on the play by Maureen Hunter.
His has received commissions from significant Canada organizations including the Orford String Quartet and Famous People Players. He has written a rock opera based on the legend of Beowulf and a musical based on A Tale of Two Cities.

His talents have led him beyond the concert hall. His numerous film scores for CBC and the National Film Board attest to his collaborative abilities in other media. He was for a time composer, arranger and conductor for CBC radio and TV. He has also written extensively for children. For CTV children's series "Let’s Go" and "Rockets" he has written words and music for over 600 songs. He has also written musicals for children to perform on stage and on TV. In 1999, he was music director, composer and producer of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Pan American Games in Winnipeg.
His commitment to the arts in Canada is evident by the active role he plays in various arts organizations. He has served as president of the Canadian League of Composers, he has been on the board of the Canadian Music Centre, and he has served as Vice Chairman of SOCAN.

Victor Davies has successfully straddled the worlds of the concert hall and popular media. His music is widely performed and enthusiastically received by the public and the critics. In particular, his "Mennonite Piano Concerto" has been warmly received and widely performed. This work was commissioned by the Fast Foundation of Manitoba and premiered by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra with lrmgard Berg as soloist. The work was recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra, again with lrmgard Berg as soloist, and has been broadcast widely in Canada, the US, and the UK. The work is a fine example of  his populist style within a formal tradition.

Through his numerous compositions and activities as a performer, Victor Davies has contributed immeasurably to the cultural life of Canada. The importance of his life work to our country is about to be recognized by this institution. He is a most worthy recipient of the degree Doctor of Law (honoris causa).

-citation delivered by Professor Charles Horton, Faculty of Music

Victor Davies