Richard Peat was one of a handful of composers, selected from across the world, to be awarded a scholarship to study with Sir Peter Maxwell Davies on the Advanced Composition course at the Dartington International Summer School in 2008. His first publicly performed work, Tenebrae, was premièred by the Britten Sinfonia at the Sounds New festival in 1997 while he was still at school. Having been a winning entrant in the John Armitage Memorial call for works in 2002, 2005, 2012, 2018, 2019 and 2020, he was commissioned to write Fiery the Angels for Giles Underwood and Onyx Brass to celebrate the John Armitage Memorial’s 10th Anniversary (broadcast on BBC Radio 3). He was selected to take part in the SPNM’s Sound Inventors scheme and Kent New Composers.
Peat studied with Paul Max Edlin and at City University with Rhian Samuel where he was awarded a BMus (First Class Honours), an MA (Distinction) and a PhD. He taught composition and theory at City and was later appointed Master in charge of Composition at Millfield School. He has led composition workshops for several regional arts festivals and was commissioned to write new pieces for Faber Music’s Fingerprints series (publications designed to introduce young musicians to contemporary music). The Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge and Ely Cathedral Girls’ Choir, conducted by Sarah MacDonald, have recorded a full-length CD of Peat’s music for release in 2021.
Based on the novel by Susan Hill, his opera, I’m the King of the Castle, written in collaboration with writer Timothy Knapman, was performed at the Holywell Music Room in 2006. Other works have been performed by leading artists such as the London Sinfonietta, Nicholas Cleobury, Stephen Layton, Martyn Brabbins, Michael Bawtree, Patrick Bailey, Andrew Morley, Trinity Boys’ Choir, the Kreutzer Quartet, the New Century Players, Icebreaker, Jane Manning, Onyx Brass, Ixion, the choir of St Bride’s Fleet Street, the Korros ensemble, the Marylebone Trio and the Aurora Ensemble.
Research interests include the role of composition in education, the music of Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks, the harpsichord in the 20th/21st Century and the representation of children in opera.