Written by: 7th March, 2004
Sir Peter, who lives in the Orkney Islands, is a leading British composer and conductor.
He recently completed 10 years as Conductor/Composer of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, the Composer/Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic in Manchester, and has also conducted many orchestras in Europe and North America. He is currently Composer Laureate of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
The term of this position has been changed from “life” to 10 years to give more composers the opportunity to take up this honorary position. The Master of The Queen’s Music will be paid an honorary stipend for his work.
A prolific composer of almost 300 published works, Sir Peter’s theatrical works include the operas Taverner, and the Lighthouse and the full-length ballets Salome and Caroline Mathilde. His orchestral works include eight symphonies, fourteen concertos, and the very popular Orkney Wedding with Sunrise. He has also written numerous orchestral, dramatic and choral works for performance by children. Sir Peter is currently writing a cycle of 10 string quartets.
The Master of the Queen’s Music is an honorary position traditionally conferred on a musician of distinction. Since the reign of King George V, the position has carried no fixed duties, although the Master may compose pieces for special Royal or State occasions.
The Masters of The Queen’s Music in the twentieth century have been Walter Parratt (1893-1924), Edward Elgar (1924-34), Walford Davies (1934-41), Arnold Bax (1942-53), Arthur Bliss (1953-75) and most recently Malcolm Williamson who died in March 2003.