Obituary: Classical music critic Peter G. Davis, 84

Posted on: February 17, 2021

Peter G. Davis, “the much-admired classical music critic for New York [magazine] for more than a quarter century,” died in New York City on February 13, writes F. Paul Driscoll in Tuesday’s (2/16) Opera News. “Davis was educated at Harvard College … the Stuttgart Hochschule für Musik … and Columbia University, where he received his master’s degree in composition in 1962.… After serving as music editor of High Fidelity and Musical America, and as the New York music correspondent for The Times of London, Davis joined the staff of New York as classical music critic. Davis’s writing was sharp, well-informed and … unfailingly candid and uncompromising. Davis was unimpressed by press agentry and refused to be dazzled by celebrity…. Davis parted company with New York in 2007…. The New York Times reported that Davis had been asked to sign an agreement of separation ‘because the magazine no longer needed a fulltime classical music critic.’ With typical bluntness, Davis told Times reporter Daniel J. Wakin, ‘It’s euphemistic for being fired.’ Davis [contributed] to The New York Times, Playbill, Musical America and OPERA NEWS, among other publications…. Davis wrote masterfully about singers and singing…. In 1997, Davis published The American Opera Singer … an essential text for anyone who cares about classical singing.”