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Peter Scholes

Composer, Performer

Born: 1957 Website  


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.

Information about Peter Scholes and his music for film and television can also be found on the NZ On Screen website.

Composed (27)

A Midsummer Night's Dream

music for ballet


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

Blue Rock

for chamber orchestra, 10m


for percussion and orchestra

Desperate Remedies

orchestral music for film

Five Baxter Songs

for tenor and piano

Garage Sale

for large chamber ensemble and voice, 5m

Harry Sings

short piece for B flat clarinet and piano, 4m

Islands I for Wind Quintet

for wind quintet, 19m

Islands II for solo clarinet

for solo clarinet with live electronics, 20m

Islands III for clarinet & piano

for clarinet and piano, 15m

Memory and Desire

orchestral music for film, 1h 2m

Once Were Warriors

for orchestra, electric violin, two singers and Kapa Haka, 4m


for thirteen players, 11m

Requiem Concerto

for violin, voices and chamber orchestra, 29m

Snapshot for Orchestra

for orchestra, 16m

Sonata for Flute and Piano

for flute and piano

String Quartet No.1

for string quartet, 18m

Symphony No. 1

for orchestra

The Golden Harp

for orchestra with narrator

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

Widowmaker (The Falling)

for flute, clarinet, violin, taonga pūoro, cello, piano and percussion, 10m 15s

Wireless for Clarinet

for solo clarinet, 14m

Arranged (6)


arranged for voice and orchestra, 5m 26s


arranged for voice and orchestra, 4m 48s


arranged for voice and orchestra, 4m 55s

Kia Ū

arranged for voice and orchestra, 4m 12s


arranged for voice and orchestra, 3m 29s


arranged for voice and orchestra, 4m 53s

Performances (3)

Auckland Chamber Orchestra (ACO) - John Elmsly Composer Portrait

Peter Scholes conducts the Auckland Chamber Orchestra in a concert featuring the works of SOUNZ c...

Auckland Chamber Orchestra (ACO) - Helen Bowater Composer Portrait

Here's a concert with a difference - come and immerse yourself in the soundworld of Helen Bowater...

Auckland Chamber Orchestra | Matthias Balzat performs "Zhong" by Xu Tang

__Peter Scholes__ | conductor and clarinettist __Matthias Balzatt__ | cello ___ __PROGRAMM...