It’s hard to believe it from his boundless on-stage energy – or from his prolific output and creative zeal – but in October Carl Davis will celebrate his 80th birthday.

One of the UK’s must respected musical figures, Davis is utterly unique: generous, versatile and marinated in the classical tradition, he has created a body of work that, whatever the genre, is borne out of his infectious desire to communicate.


Liverpool tribute

Davis has been a conductor and close friend of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra – and a firm favourite with their audience – for more than 50 years. On his birthday on 28 October, Davis joins the orchestra for an evening of music celebrating his life and work, introduced by presenter and friend Aled Jones. From the exhilarating Chariot Race from Ben Hur to Davis’s music for the television classics Pride and Prejudice and The World at War, this evening promises to be a rich, unmissable tribute to one of the UK’s most versatile and best-loved composers.

                                          Full details of the RLPO concert can be found here


A Giant of Stage and Screen

Crowning Davis’s work in the realm of silent film is his ground-breaking score to Abel Gance’s 5 ½ -hour epic Napoléon – the longest of its kind ever composed – which will be performed at the Royal Festival Hall in November by the Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Davis. The performance will mark the release of a new digital version of the film, which will be shown in cinemas and made available on the BFI Player. In further recognition of his position as a giant of music for film and television, in June Davis was invited to conduct the BBC Philharmonic in a special edition of Radio 3’s Sound of Cinema programme devoted to his work. Presented by Matthew Sweet, the programme will be broadcast later this year.

Davis has recently completed work on his first score to an animated film. Based on Raymond Briggs’s award-winning graphic novel Ethel & Ernest, the film is directed by Roger Mainwood and will be shown on the BBC. A concert suite will be performed in Liverpool in October.


Insights into the life and work of a Maestro

How do you bring a forgotten silent film back to life? What are the techniques behind writing a successful film score? How do you work with and inspire choreographers?

Published to mark his 80th birthday, Carl Davis: Maestro by Wendy Thompson offers a unique glimpse into the life and work of this consummate all-round musician, documenting his immense impact on the many spheres of music-making he has inhabited. Davis’s fascinating life story gives an insight into the prolific composing and conducting career of one of the world’s most celebrated film and television composers.

Carl Davis: Maestro (ISBN 0-571-53958-0) is available from October 2016 at, priced at £25