Richard Peat was one of a handful of composers from across the world 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. 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 the most frequently selected entrant in the John Armitage Memorial call for works (from 2002 to 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). 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.
Peat studied 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 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). A recording of his Corpus Christi Carol was recently released by Ely Cathedral Girls’ Choir on their album An Ely Christmas.
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, 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, Stephen Layton, Sarah MacDonald, Andrew Morley, Patrick Bailey, Jane Manning, Trinity Boys’ Choir, Ely Cathedral Girls’ Choir, and the choir of St Bride’s Fleet Street. 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.
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.