Peter Cowdrey, Piano
Peter Cowdrey won music scholarships to Winchester College and Trinity College Cambridge. He studied composition with Oliver Knussen. His opera Zeller was performed by the Cambridge University Opera Society in 1985, with a libretto by Henry Shukman.
He was resident in Polynesia for three years, recording Polynesian music for Warrior Pacific Records. He then founded the world music group Orbestra, which toured Europe from Shetland to Bulgaria and South America too. Orbestra was discovered by American producer Joe Boyd, who then invited the group to record on the Hannibal/Rykodisc label.
In 1995 he conducted the premiere of his “A Garden Amidst Flames” in Hagia Irene, one of Istanbul’s great basilicas. It was the culmination of a year-long project for the Istanbul Festival to combine two great musical traditions that had diverged at the crusades.
Peter’s works have been premiered at Schleswig Holstein Festival, the Royal Albert Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room. He’s also written music for the Royal Shakespeare Company.
In 2010, he founded Opera Unlimited with Rosie Johnston, conducting the premiere of his one act opera “The Lovely Ladies” at Christies. This production was repeated at the Buxton Opera Festival in 2011. In November 2011 his new opera “The Mad Duchess” was premiered at Boughton House in Northamptonshire with further performances at Claxton Opera, Norfolk and in London. Future plans include a commission for Gonzalez Byass in Jerez, in a setting of “The Portrait of Dorian Gray” with tenor Toby Spence, and a puppet opera based on Paradise Lost.
Peter is passionate about birds and birdsong. In 2009, he founded the ensemble The Conference of Birds, which received British Council funding to travel to Amazonia to work with local composers and ornithologists. He is involved in creating Planet Birdsong, a global online community for The Goldfinch Foundation.
“By tapping into these ancient seams of sound, Peter Cowdrey quarries out exquisite melodies…”