Idyllwild local Peter Davison has always had an interest in music. He began playing the flute when he was six years old. Starting at such a young age, Davison was ahead of the music game early on in life.
Playing an instrument like the flute led him to play in the LA City Orchestra at the age of 10.
“It was kind of scary because I was the only boy out of half a dozen flutists,” Davison said. “All these pretty girls were so good, but it was fun.”
As Davison reminisced about his early days in music, he explained how important music was within the educational system.
“Music was such a big part of education back then, and it should be still today,” he said.
“I liked it because it got me out of other classes,” Davison said with a chuckle. “In junior high and high school, I was one of those band and orchestra kids. It was all I wanted to do.”
By the time he was a teenager, he had taken up rock ‘n’ roll and the blues. He was in bands playing guitar, saxophone and bass, while touring and living the life many dream of living. However, Davison discovered it wasn’t his dream after all.
“I realized I didn’t want to tour,” Davison confessed. “I wanted to be at home working on music not out waking up in hotels. I’m more of a homebody.”
When Davison was 19 years old, he fell ill. He was hospitalized for a month then bedridden for four straight months. Davison had a lot of time to reflect and think about what he wanted to do with his future.
“I decided I wanted to be a composer,” Davison said. “I didn’t really enjoy performing that much, but I loved making music. Those four months were fantastic because I just sat there and thought about what I really wanted to do. I realized I wanted to go get a bachelor’s and master’s in music composition.”
From 1970 to 1975, Davison attended California State University, Northridge and did exactly what he set out to do. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1973 and his master’s degree in 1975, both in music composition.
While he was still in college, he started making and recording scores, which launched his career in the television and movie industry.
“From 1974 to 2011, I was a composer making television and film scores,” Davison said. “If you watch the History Channel, Discovery, A&E, Biography, The Learning Channel, you’ve heard my music.”
One of the biggest turning points for Davison was in 1988. From 1988 to 2007, Davison scored music for multiple television series on PBS.
“I would sign a new contract every year for a 26-episode series,” Davison explained. “That went on for 19 years.”
Just like the music industry, the film and television industries provide many opportunities from word-of-mouth. Davison benefited from that and was composing and orchestrating for bigger companies until 2011.
“I also did a lot of orchestration for television with Warner Bros., Universal Studios and Disney,” Davison said.
On Aug. 17, 2011, Davison moved to Idyllwild full time. For years, he had been a part-time resident, splitting his time between Idyllwild and Santa Monica.
“Once I moved up here full time, I stopped scoring music for film and television shows and have been able to do my own music,” he said. “Almost everything I did for television still plays, and because I own the composer and publishing rights, financially it works out well.”
Throughout his career, Davison has been the administrator of all of his work. He’s done around 700 scores for films and television companies. He is also administrator to 3,000 tracks in his library.
Living in Idyllwild, he’s completed 35 albums of his own music and is currently about halfway through his 36th. His music is streaming on Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, Amazon, YouTube, and about another dozen music streaming sites. His Pandora site recently hit a huge milestone of 75 million streams.
Davison has won multiple awards for his work. In 2010, his instrumental song “Sip of Wine” from his album “Future, Present, Past” received the Best Song of the Year Award from the Hollywood Music in Media Awards.
In 2018, his album “Iris-Bringer of Dreams” received the Global Music Awards Silver Medal in the New Age category.
In 2019, his song “Blooming Memories of Spring” from his album “My Universe in Harmony” received the Silver Medal New Age at the Global Music Awards.
Two of his albums were also on the Billboard Top 10 New Age Albums
“I was able to make my living composing music as my day job,” Davison said. “It was my dream come true.”
When he’s not in his studio creating his music, Davison can usually be spotted around town with his wife Iris and their dog Jake, enjoying all that Idyllwild has to offer.