Cedric Thorpe Davie

Prof Cedric Thorpe Davie OBE FRSE FRAM RSA LLD (30 May 1913 – 18 January 1983) was a British musician and composer, specialising in film scores, most notably The Green Man in 1956. A high proportion of his film and documentary work and compositional work has a Scottish theme.


He was born in Lewisham in south London,[1] the son of Thorpe Davie, a music teacher and choir master.[2] The family moved to Glasgow early in his life and he attended the High School of Glasgow.[3]

He studied at the Scottish National Academy of Music in Glasgow and the Royal Academy of Music in London. In London he was instructed in piano by Egon Petri and Harold Craxton, and horn by Aubrey Brain. He was instructed in composition by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Dr R. O. Morris. In 1935 he travelled to both Helsinki and Budapest, for further training under Yrjo Kilpinen and Zoltán Kodály. He returned to Glasgow in 1936 and began lecturing in music.[4] Early works included creation of operas such as Gammer Gurton’s Needle.[2]

In the Second World War he served in the National Fire Service covering the Glasgow docklands (an area of intense bombing). After the war he moved to St Andrews University as Master of Music, being raised to full Professor of Music in 1973.

He was involved in the newly created Edinburgh Festival in the 1950s, and oversaw production of important new Scottish musical works such as Ane Satyre of the Threi Estaites.[4] He was fond of putting Scottish literary works to music, including: Sunset Song, Cloud Howe, The Beggar's Benison, A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle, and Ramsay's The Gentle Shepherd.[5]

In 1955 he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). In 1978, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were Sir Thomas Malcolm Knox, J. Steven Watson, Sir Norman Graham, Norman Gash, GWS Barrow and Anthony Elliot Ritchie.[3]

He lived in St John's Town of Dalry, Kirkcudbrightshire and died there on 18 January 1983.[6]

A substantial collection of his manuscripts and scores is held by the University of St Andrews.[7]


In 1937, he married Margaret Russell Brown. She died on 1 October 1974. They had two sons.

  • Anthony John Thorpe Davie (17 November 1939 – 8 January 2003)
  • Stephen William Thorpe Davie (born 8 April 1945)


In 2013, St Andrews University held a special event to mark the centenary of Davie's birth.[1]

Film scores by DavieEdit


  • Music Structure and Design (1966)
  • The Oxford Scottish Song Book (1969) joint editor
  • Scotland’s Music (1980)


  1. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  2. ^ a b [2][dead link]
  3. ^ a b [3][dead link]
  4. ^ a b [4][dead link]
  5. ^ The Daily Telegraph: obituaries: McKellar, 11 April 2010
  6. ^ Roy Dyckhoff (10 August 2010). "Cedric Thorpe Davie". Scottishcomposers.wordpress.com. Retrieved 7 August 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Papers of Cedric Thorpe Davie - Archives Hub". Archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk. Retrieved 7 August 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit