Matthew de Lacey Davidson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Matthew de Lacey Davidson (born 1964) is a Canadian composer of concert, orchestral and chamber music who currently resides in Nova Scotia, Canada. Studying in many countries, and integrating the works of numerous cultures into his work, Davidson's work reflects multi-cultural influences. He has studied in Canada, the United States and New Zealand. In addition to popular music, his work reflects influences of American, Asian, European and African vernacular or folk-music styles. Davidson is also the author of a novel, a short story collection, a play in verse, and two collections of poetry. His poetry and short story work have been published in both Grammateion, and the online literary journal, Danse Macabre.[1]


Davidson was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He studied composition with Jack Body at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand; John Beckwith at the University of Toronto; and Salvatore Martirano at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the United States. In addition, he also studied counterpoint and computer music with John Melby at the University of Illinois. He studied piano with John Powell, Bruce Greenfield, Philippa Ward, and Rae de Lisle in New Zealand; Lawrence Pitchko and Harold Heap in Toronto; and with William Heiles at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.[2] In 2015, he attended a poetry-writing course taught by Sue Sinclair at McGill University, in Montreal. This resulted in the publication of two poetry collections.[3]


Davidson is a composer of academic concert music influenced by world music, and popular or vernacular idioms (such as jazz, early popular songs, and ragtime). He has written a body of work which includes music for piano solo, chamber music, orchestral music and electronic music. He has also composed a chamber opera based on the short stories of New Zealand author, Katherine Mansfield.[4]

Many of his works use direct transcriptions of non-western music from regions as diverse as Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Belgium, the United States, the Basque region, and Africa. These transcriptions are often combined with Frederic Rzewski-style pan-tonal variations, classical music forms, and polytonality. In addition, his work is less concerned with the creation of a specific style of his own, and more towards the conscious development of ‘appropriated’ musical material.[5]

His work is made available by The American Composers Alliance, The Canadian Music Centre, and The Centre for New Zealand Music (SOUNZ).


Since 2017, Davidson has published four books: What Souls Might Bear: Poems; Please Don’t Forget Me: Poems and a Play in a Verse; Roses in December: Haunting and Macabre Tales; and Precept – A Novel.[6] His books have been, generally speaking, favourably received, with his short stories being praised as elegantly written, with precision in vocabulary, and with the authorial voice having empathy and compassion.[7]. His first novel, entitled PRECEPT, is a fictionalized account of the four months 19th Century civil rights leader Frederick Douglass spent in Ireland. The book was praised as having personalities "rising from the pages with vivid energy," and as an "important and often moving story…"[8]. Davidson has stated that this novel, PRECEPT, is a pastiche of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Further, that the influence of other writers (such as Tom Stoppard), and Davidson's penchant for pastiche, are useful methods to create convincing historical fiction.[9]. In addition, that Graham Greene has been an influence on his writing[10].

List of compact disc releases[edit]

Davidson has released 12 CDs to date.[11]

  • 2010: The Pianist Musings: Re-issue of performances of works, by Brahms & Rachmaninoff on Navona
  • 2008: Talencourt: Music for Voice, Piano, and Strings, by Matthew de Lacey Davidson, Capstone Records
  • 2007: The Graceful Ghost: Contemporary Piano Rags, Capstone Records
  • 2001: Whippin’ the Keys: 75 years of Novelty Piano Ragtime, with Gary Smart, guest artist, Capstone Records
  • 2000: On the Highwire: Piano Rags, Waltzes and Tangos by Donald Ashwander, Capstone Records
  • 2000: Stolen Music: New Compositions, by Matthew Davidson, Capstone Records (re-release of original Mastersound album)
  • 1999: Syncopated Lady, with Tomoko Deguchi, Capstone Records
  • 1996: Stolen Music, Mastersound/Allegro
  • 1996: Sugar’s Nightmare: Piano Rags to Jazz 1898–1995, Mastersound/Allegro
  • 1995: Voodoo Queen: Piano Rags, Jazz, and Blues, performed by Matthew Davidson, Mastersound/Allegro
  • 1994: The Graceful Ghost: Contemporary Piano Rags, Mastersound/Allegro
  • 1992: Space Shuffle and Other Futuristic Rags, Stomp Off Records

List of compositions[edit]


As a composer, Davidson has received numerous awards, performances, and radio broadcasts in New Zealand, Canada, the United States, and Europe, and has received praise for his originality, meticulousness, and idiomatic writing for instruments.[12]


  1. ^ the magician misdirects... "writer Biography". July, 2017.
  2. ^ Canadian Music Centre. "Composer Biography". February, 2013.
  3. ^ Interview in The Reading Nook. "Interview with Matthew de Lacey Davidson". April, 2018.
  4. ^ Matthew Davidson, "Composer Biography", SOUNZ, Centre for New Zealand Music (January 2013). Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  5. ^ Couture, François "Review", Stolen Music. Retrieved on July 11, 2012.
  6. ^ Goodreads "Matthew de Lacey Davidson, Goodreads Author". Retrieved on April 22, 2018.
  7. ^ The Bookbag "Jill Murphy, The Bookbag, review of Roses in December". Retrieved on April 22, 2018.
  8. ^ The Bookbag "Jill Murphy, The Bookbag, review of PRECEPT". Retrieved on April 22, 2018.
  9. ^ "Matthew Davidson, article regarding creation of the novel, PRECEPT". Retrieved on April 22, 2018.
  10. ^ "Author Interview, Debra’s Book Café". Retrieved on April 22, 2018.
  11. ^ American Composers Association "Composer Biography". Retrieved on July 11, 2012.
  12. ^ American Composers Association "Composer Biography". Retrieved on July 11, 2012.

External links[edit]