Peter Scholes was born in 1957 in Auckland and grew up in the thermally turbulent area of Rotorua, New Zealand. His high school experience was as a border at Auckland Grammar and then he specialisd in clarinet study at the Auckland Conservatorium of Music.
He now pursues the dual career of performing (both as a conductor and a clarinettist), and composing.
He has had works commissioned by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Saint Matthew’s Chamber Orchestra, CadeNZa, Chamber Music New Zealand, the Auckland Wind Quintet, Patrick Power, Gareth Farr, Amanda Hollins and Richard Mapp and for Radio New Zealand drama productions. His composition “Islands II” represented New Zealand in the 1993 UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers.
He was Founder and is currently Musical Director of the Auckland Chamber Orchestra He studied conducting with Juan Matteucci and has conducted all the professional New Zealand Orchestras as well as the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Prague Symphony Orchestra. His experience in conducting ranges from the traditional repertoire through to contemporary compositions with forays into unique projects such as combining Cook Island drummers with the symphony orchestra and multi-media orchestral performances. He was musical director of the Auckland Sinfonietta, a position he held from 1996-1999.
His has extensive experience in the area of education with the Auckland Philharmonia in pioneering new styles of young person's concerts to capacity houses at the Aotea Centre. He also conducted the “Lakeside” operatic spectaculars in Rotorua with the Auckland Philharmonia and a similar event with the Wellington Sinfonia. He was conductor for the ENZSO and ENZSO 2 recording and subsequent tours.
His specialist instrument is the clarinet which he studied with George Hopkins, Alan Hacker and Thea King and with Ken Wilson at the Auckland Conservatorium, now the University of Auckland School of Music. His interpretations received international acclaim when he was prize winner in the 1987 International Gaudeamus Interpreters Competition held in Rotterdam. From 1980 to 1993 he was principal clarinet with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and clarinet tutor at the School of Music and has been in groups such as Red Mole, Auckland Chamber Music Players, From Scratch, Digorie, The Auckland Wind Quintet and Avant Garage. He has appeared as soloist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Christchurch Symphony and Southern Sinfonia. He has given recitals for Chamber Music New Zealand and was guest artist with the New Zealand String Quartet in quintets by Mozart, Weber and Brahms. He is a frequent soloist with the Auckland Chamber Orchestra.
The Tattooist Director (Peter Berger)
The Lunatics' Ball (Director Michael Thorpe)
Fifty Ways of Saying Fabulous (Director Stuart Main)
Memory and Desire (Director Niki Caro)
Desperate Remedies (Directors Stuart Main and Peter Wells)
Hinekaro Goes on a Picnic and Blows Up Another Obelisk (Director Christine Parker)
The Call Up (Auckland Sinfonietta)
The Eye of the Queen
His composition "Wireless for Solo Clarinet" was premiered in Rotterdam in the final round of the International Gaudeamus Interpreters Competition in 1987.
His composition Islands II represented New Zealand in the 1993 UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers.
Four of his compositions, including two premieres, were played in the 1996 International Festival of the Arts.