SOCAN was saddened to learn of the passing, on May 28, 2021, of Lori (Lorraine Elizabeth) Davies (née Benabo), the wife and business partner of longtime SOCAN Board member, composer Victor Davies.
After a distinguished career as a Registered Nurse – including a diploma in Intensive Care Nursing, a pioneering role in Canadian CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), and a position as Director for Emergency Cardiac Care and Professional Education for the Ontario Heart Foundation – Lori retired from the medical field to work alongside Victor in their jointly owned company, Lily Pad Productions.
Lori worked to administrate, organize, and promote Victor’s numerous and very popular works in concert music, and music for film, television, and theatre. Her role at Lily Pad Productions was many-faceted: she oversaw the production of major film scores and recordings with the London Symphony Orchestra and the City of Prague Symphony; raised funds for, and produced, theatre and recording projects; published, marketed, promoted, printed, and sold music in the pre-digital era, and later did so via online applications in Canada, the U.S., U.K., Europe, Israel, and China. She continued in this role until her passing.
Lori also served as Executive Director of the Guild of Canadian Film Composers from 2001 to 2004, at a time when the organization experienced substantial growth and innovation.
Victor shared a few of his many fond memories of Lori with us. “One time, while recording in Prague, some Dolby modules had to be shipped at the last minute from London,” he recalled. “Because of IRA incidents, all gear flown by air from the U.K. had to be held in custody for two days – except those flown by Aer Lingus, who we used. Lori got on the phone and got the modules shipped immediately from Abbey Road studios, to arrive the morning after her call, on an 8:00 a.m. flight. When they got to Prague at 9:00, Lori boldly strode right past the protesting security guards – who had machine guns – into the cage where they were being held, promptly picked them up, and drove them right to the studio.”
On another occasion, Victor was commissioned to write a Mennonite Piano Concerto. “It sat on the shelf for quite awhile,” he remembered, “when Lori reminded me of it, and said she thought it was a pretty good piece, and we should record it. So we did, with the London Symphony Orchestra.”
Because of her initial suggestion, the Mennonite Piano Concerto recording became a reality, and has since become the most requested Canadian classical work on CBC Radio 2 in Canada, and has been heard on BBC radio, and National Public Radio in the U.S. In 1996, it was No. 8 in sales on Classic FM, the most listened-to classical broadcaster in the U.K. In 2007, it was voted No. 50 in an Australian Broadcasting poll of listeners for 100 Top Concertos of All Time.
Lori Davies is survived by her devoted husband Victor, daughters Suzanne Davies, (and husband Martin Kneis), Heather Davies, (and partner Greg Rose), and granddaughters Chelsea and Caleigh Davies-Kneis.
Friends of Lori, and the Davies family, are invited to visit the Mount Pleasant Funeral Centre online. A celebration of Lori’s life will take place in Toronto and Winnipeg when allowed, with the lifting of COVID-19 protocols.