Richard Peat was one of six composers to be awarded a scholarship by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies to study with him on the Advanced Composition course at the Dartington International Summer School in 2008; he was selected again in 2021 to study with Nico Muhly. 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. Peat’s music has been performed all over the world and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. He has received awards from the John Armitage Memorial, Oxford festival of the Arts, the Isolda Composition Foundation, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, London New Wind Festival and Glasgow University. In October 2022, the Choir of Selwyn College Cambridge and Ely Cathedral Girls’ Choir, conducted by Sarah MacDonald, recorded a full-length album of Peat’s choral music, Faces in the Mist.
Peat studied at City University with Rhian Samuel (where he completed his doctorate in 2007) and privately with Paul Max Edlin. He taught composition and theory at City and was later appointed as assistant composer on Sound and Music’s Sound Inventors scheme and Master in charge of Composition at Millfield School. He has led composition workshops for regional arts festivals and was commissioned to write pieces for Faber Music’s Fingerprints series.
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. Other works have been performed by leading artists such as the London Sinfonietta, the London Mozart Players, the Kreutzer Quartet, Onyx Brass, Icebreaker, the Moonlight Symphony Orchestra, New Century Players, Ixion, the Korros ensemble, the Marylebone Trio, the Aurora Ensemble, Martyn Brabbins, Nicholas Cleobury, Michael Bawtree, Stephen Layton, Sarah MacDonald, Andrew Morley, Patrick Bailey, Rebecca Afonwy-Jones, Julian Close, Samara Ginsberg, Jane Manning, Trinity Boys Choir, the choristers of Canterbury Cathedral and the choir of St Bride’s, Fleet Street.
Research interests include the role of composition in education, the music of Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks, the harpsichord in the 20th century and the representation of children in opera. The Sky Engine, a community oratorio with words by Timothy Knapman, received its first performance at JAM on the Marsh in July 2023. His music is published by Encore Publications.