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Red Contributor

Peter Scholes


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Born: 1957


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.

Composed (38)

3 4 F [PVC]

for a large group of clarinet players, 14m

A Midsummer Night's Dream

score for ballet of Shakespeare's play of the same name


for flute, 2 bass clarinets and double bass, 6m

Blue Rock

for chamber orchestra, 10m


for percussion and orchestra

Dance and Lament

for early instruments, 8m

Desperate Remedies

orchestral music for the film produced by James Wallace and directed by Stewart Main and Peter Wells


for clarinet/saxophone, electric guitar, drum machine, 8m

Five Baxter Songs

five songs for tenor and piano


for clarinet and electric guitar, 12m


for orchestra, 3m

Garage Sale

for large chamber ensemble and voice, 5m

Harry Sings

short piece for B flat clarinet and piano, 4m

Islands II for solo clarinet

for solo clarinet with midi controlled electronics, 20m

Melody for Many

for clarinet ensemble of 7 players, 11m

Memory and Desire

soundtrack for orchestra from the film of the same name produced by Owen Hughes and directed by Niki Caro, 1h 2m

Once Were Warriors

an arrangement of the original film score music by Murray Grindlay, Murray McNabb and the Herbs for orchestra, electric violin, two singers and Kapa Haka, 4m


for clarinet and electric guitar


for 13 players, 11m

Requiem Concerto

for violin, voices and chamber orchestra, 29m


for flute, clarinet, cello, 2 electric guitars, bass guitar and percussion, 12m

Terry and the Violin Case

for 6 actors and orchestra

The Edge Of Security

for flute, clarinet, 2 violins, 2 violas, cello, 9m

The Golden Harp

for orchestra with narrator

The Saint

incidental music for radio

The Tale of the Birdcatcher

an opera for 2 baritones, tenor, 2 sopranos and piano, 35m

Thirteen Ways of Looking at Seven

for narrator and string orchestra

Time For Three

for amplified clarinet, percussionist and drum machine, 12m


for violin, clarinet and piano, 18m 30s

Who's There?

for clarinet and electric guitar

Wireless for Clarinet

for solo clarinet, 14m

Recordings (4)

Andrew Uren: Steep Steps

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Different Tracks

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