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Exclusive: Royal composer’s ex-partner is found dead

Colin Parkinson, the former civil partner partner of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, has been found dead in a small flat in Kirkwall, where he had lived in poverty after being evicted from the marital home. His death has not yet been reported in local media and the cause is not known. Colin was 58.

We have been informed of the tragedy by a fellow-composer. We understand that Max, Master of the Queen’s Musick, was told about it in London. He is said to have received the news with equanimity. The adjective given to us was ‘sanguine’.

The relationship between Max and Colin ended in a legal battle that you can read about here. Having gone to court for the right to marry Colin in a same-sex ceremony in 2007, Max went back to court last September to have Colin evicted from their Orkneys home. He pursued further legal action to accuse Colin, a former builder, of domestic abuse. Colin was later reported to be living with a female friend.

Max, 78, is presently receiving treatment for leukemia. He said that his own cancer put recent troubles into perspective.

maxwell davies colin parkison

photo (c) Ken Amer. All rights reserved

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  1. The greatest classical composer alive. I can’t wait to hear that 10th Symphony!!

  2. I am sorry about Mr. Parkinson’s demise. It’s very sad. It is NOT a tragedy. To describe someone dying in reduced circumstances in this manner is to leave us with no adequate words for true catastrophes.

  3. R McGregor Dunnett says:

    One has to feel sorry, both for Colin’s family (2 sons) and for the fact that he and Max won’t have the chanceto mend fences. Whatever way, very sad. The photo in happier times is a gem. The equanimity suggestion seems gratuitous and untested.

    • thank you for you nice word, dad will be happy to get some more Column inches. it is a shame my dad and max couldn’t be more amicable , but there you go. funeral on Tuesday, 11.30 Balfour hospital, kirkwall, Orkney.

  4. Sorry to hear this news. We met Colin several times here at Potton Hall and he was such a character. He insisted on helping around the place whilst Max was recording and so I have memories of the two of us hoovering out the swimming pool etc. My thoughts are with his sons at this difficult time…

  5. R McGregor Dunnett says:

    ‘Distressing’ was the word Max used to me. When one separates from someone, for whatever reason, one’s feelings for them often still remain torn after the rupture. If it went wrong, that doesn’t mean neither felt something for the other in the aftermath. Both are/were, to use Helen’s word, such characters, it would be impossible not to remember the fun they gave each other: the awkward moments, and there were many latterly, often pale after a time. Colin and Max went back a very long way.

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