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Biography

Peter Scholes is a clarinettist, musical director, conductor and composer. Born in Auckland, his specialist instrument is the clarinet which he studied with George Hopkins, Alan Hacker and Thea King and with Ken Wilson at the Auckland Conservatorium, now the University of Auckland School of Music. His interpretations received international acclaim when he was prize winner in the 1987 International Gaudeamus Interpreters Competition held in Rotterdam.

From 1980-1993 Peter was principal clarinet with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and clarinet tutor at the School of Music and has been in groups such as Red Mole, Auckland Chamber Music Players, From Scratch, Digorie, The Auckland Wind Quintet and Avant Garage. He has appeared as soloist with all the New Zealand orchestras including the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and many concerto performances with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. He has given recitals for Chamber Music New Zealand and was guest artist with the New Zealand String Quartet in quintets by Mozart, Weber and Brahms. He is a frequent soloist with the Auckland Chamber Orchestra.

He was composer and conductor for the NZ feature film “Desperate Remedies” and the short film “Hinekaro goes on a Picnic and Blows Up Another Obelisk”. He also conducted the soundtrack to “Heavenly Creatures”. Film score compositions include “The Tattooist”, “Memory and Desire” by Niki Caro based on the story by Peter Wells and recorded by the NZSO and “Fifty Ways of Saying Fabulous”.

Peter has had works commissioned by the NZSO, the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Saint Matthew’s Chamber Orchestra, CadeNZa, Chamber Music New Zealand, the Auckland Wind Quintet, Patrick Power, Gareth Farr, Amanda Hollins and Richard Mapp and for Radio New Zealand drama productions. His composition “Islands II” represented New Zealand in the 1993 UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers.

He was Founder (1999) and is currently Musical Director of the Auckland Chamber Orchestra. He studied conducting with Juan Matteucci and has conducted all the professional New Zealand Orchestras as well as the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Orion Orchestra and the Prague Symphony Orchestra. His experience in conducting ranges from the traditional repertoire through to contemporary compositions with forays into unique projects such as combining Cook Island drummers with the symphony orchestra and multi-media orchestral performances.

Peter was musical director of the Auckland Sinfonietta, a position he held from 1996-1999.
He has extensive experience in the area of education with the Auckland Philharmonia in pioneering new styles of young person’s concerts to capacity houses at the Aotea Centre. He also conducted the “Lakeside” operatic spectaculars in Rotorua with the Auckland Philharmonia and a similar event with the Wellington Sinfonia. He was conductor for the ENZSO and ENZSO2 recording and subsequent tours. In 1995 he composed music for the Royal New Zealand Ballet production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Recent commissions include Relic (2010) for STROMA, Bonk for percussion and orchestra (2008) for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and Requiem Concerto (2007) for Auckland Chamber Orchestra. Peter has lectured in clarinet, electronic music, conducting and chamber music at University of Auckland and Waikato University.

Source: Peter Scholes, September 2007. Updated by SOUNZ, February 2017.

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