Memorial Set For Arts Champion Hugh Davidson

A service of remembrance of the life of beloved Canadian composer, music critic, radio producer, writer, and arts administrator Hugh Davidson (May 27, 1930 - July 14, 2014) will be held Tuesday, August 5 at 2 p.m. at St. John the Divine Anglican Church in Victoria.

In lieu of flowers, consider a donation to the Victoria Foundation’s Hugh Davidson Fund or an arts organization of your choice. Condolences may be offered to the family at

Hugh was a graduate of The Royal Conservatory of Music where he studied from 1945 - 1948. His teachers there included George Crum in piano and Godfrey Ridout in music composition. In 1951 he went to England to pursue further studies in composition with Bernard Stevens and Humphrey Searle. After four years, he returned to Canada where he worked as a composer and studied orchestration with Neil Chotem in Montreal.

Hugh’s compositional output included works for piano, ballets, chamber music, vocal art songs, choral works, and incidental music for the theatre.

From 1956 to 1961 Hugh was a radio producer for CBC Montreal's English network, moving to their French network in 1962 where he worked for three years as a supervisor of music. He was then appointed assistant program director at CBC Montreal in 1965, a position he held for four years.

In 1966 he helped found the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec.

In 1967 Hugh served as music consultant for the Canadian Pavilion at Expo 67. He worked for the BBC in London from 1969–1971 and then returned to Canada to become music administrator of the National Arts Centre (1971–1973).

He was appointed head of music at the Canada Council in 1973, where he remained until he became cultural councillor to the Canadian High Commission in London in 1978. From 1981–1988 he served as general manager of the Canada Council's Touring Office. After leaving there he worked as a consultant to various arts organizations in the Vancouver area.

Davidson worked as a music critic for the British magazine Music and Musicians and for several publications in Montreal including The Gazette and Montréal-Matin. He also wrote program notes for numerous ensembles, including the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and the Pro Musica Society of Montreal.

From 1956–1960 Hugh was the assistant editor of the Jeunesses musicales du Canada music journal.

Hugh retired to Victoria, BC where he was for many years as a supporter and advisor to the Victoria Symphony and many arts organizations and artists in both Victoria and Vancouver and continued his lifelong championing of the arts.


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