Award-winning film and television composer and orchestrator Peter Davison built a major career in Los Angeles until he found the perfect studio in which to work — Idyllwild.
“My music is changing,” said Davison. “Here there are so few distractions. Moving full-time to Idyllwild is the best thing we ever did. Living here has made me more of who I really am.”
He and the career he built in Hollywood before moving full-time to Idyllwild are impressive: original music for more than 500 episodes of multiple TV series for which he owns music rights, and scores for major indie features and shorts. Davison has composed musical scores for the History Channel, Bravo, Biography, A&E, PBS, Discovery Warner Brothers, Disney, Universal, MTV and CBS.
And as the industry began to change, commissioning fewer original scores and using more “library music,” Davison changed with it. He began writing cues and custom scores for Jingle Punx (www.jinglepunx.com), currently the foremost music content management service, making original downloadable music available for “any style, any mood and for any project.” Jingle Punx claims to provide “content searchable” music, “the perfect track and the best licensed music out there.” For Davison, it proved to be a beneficial transition. “I can sit down and write any kind of music theme or style I’m thinking or feeling — atmospheric, romantic, comedy, horror, mysterious and so on and eventually it will be used.”
Stars align, doors open and new directions become apparent. Davison described the synchronistic pull Idyllwild has long had over his life, a subtle force incrementally drawing him closer to living full-time on the Hill. It all began with an audition.
“In 1978, I auditioned in Los Angeles to be the accompanist for the Bella Lewitzky dance company for a summer session at ISOMATA [Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts, precursor to the Idyllwild Arts Academy and Summer Program]. Davison had attended California State University, Northridge, where he had received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music composition. He got the Lewitzky gig and was assigned to a class taught by Lewitzky company member Iris Pell. Being assigned to Pell’s class and living near her during that Idyllwild summer proved fortuitous.
Not long after, Pell and Davison married. “We were living in Santa Monica and started coming back to Idyllwild regularly, in the spring and in the winter,” said Davison. “In 1999, we noticed an ad in the Town Crier for a house. We saw the house and made an offer that same day. It became our vacation home.”
On Aug. 17, 2011, Davison and Iris moved full-time to Idyllwild. He built his home studio and sound-conditioned it so he could work any time of day and not disturb neighbors. His musical interests and muses began to change as he was drawn to the peace and tranquility of Idyllwild’s outdoors — its streams, its trails, its night sky, its canyons and its critters.
Davison’s music, whether CDs of his own compositions (“Music from the Heart of the Forest,” “Galileo’s Telescope,” “Forest Home,” “Release” and “Take Me Back to Eden”) or commissioned music for meditation and massage, began more and more to reflect his mountain home. Davison is currently composing for At Peace Media, one of the largest library sources for massage therapist music.
“Since 1980, my day job has been writing music,” said Davison. “I kept asking the universe to let me write music full-time. The answer was, “OK, but you have to work really hard.”
At his Idyllwild studio, Davison has a wall of CDs, all his, evidence that he has worked diligently and kept his part of the bargain. He has worked very hard. Now, living in Idyllwild, Davison says it’s as good as it could possibly be.
“Here I’m just in the moment and fully present,” he said. “Idyllwild has a very natural, spiritual non-denominational vibe. People here aren’t always trying to get something from you. I don’t have so many desires — to have things. I can just write my music and be part of this town. I feel accepted here.”
Davison’s CDs “Meditate” and “Exhale” both made Billboard’s Top 10 New Age albums. His instrumental “Sip of Wine” (from his CD “Future, Present, Past”) received Best Song of the Year at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards. His score for the PBS series “The Endless Voyage” was nominated for “Best Score of the Year, TV Show.”
For more about Davison, visit www.peterdavison.com.