Q & A with composer Peter Wilson
21 January 2018

Introducing our Next Wave 2 composer: Peter Wilson

Emma WildeNext Wave is a partnership project between NMC Recordings, Sound and Music and Sage Gateshead, designed to support and promote composers in higher education as they transition into the professional music industry. The following Q&A is extracted from the British Music Collection website as part of their New Voices series.

Peter Wilson grew up near the Dandenong Ranges in Australia. He studied dance at The Australian Ballet School, then Composition at the Royal College of Music. Peter has worked internationally as a dancer, and now practices as a composer for concert hall, theatre, art installations, and dance. In addition to composing for Lore Lixenberg and the Royal Northern Sinfonia for ‘Next Wave 2’, he has worked collaboratively with Peter Neville and Richard Haynes (ELISION), The Australian Ballet dancers, Gildas Quartet, and Kaldor Public Arts.

Peter's piece A sweet, wild note features on the Next Wave 2 album which is available to pre-order here.


His piece will be performed at the New Year New Artists concert at Sage Gateshead on 27 January 2018. For more information and tickets click here.



What was your route into composing?


Age six: A-minor triads

Age ten: Phillip Glass

Age twelve: Yann Tiersen

Age thirteen: John Williams

Age sixteen: Ennio Morricone

Age twenty: Thomas Ades

Age twenty-two: Brian Ferneyhough

Now: Birds and waterfalls

I was doing a secondment with a contemporary dance company called Chunky Move when I met Richard Gill, veteran music educator and (then) artistic director of the Victorian Opera. He introduced me to contemporary music and helped me to find my feet in the music world.


You trained as a ballet dancer before studying composition. Do you think your experience as a dancer informs your approach to composition and your musical style in general?

I think that all music is a product of the composer’s personality, memories, and experiences. For most of my life I’ve been trained to respond physically and expressively to music, and this has definitely impacted upon the type of music that I write. I went through a period of trying to exploit this fact however - to push the physicality of my music as far as possible - and this, for the most part, didn’t work too well. So I’m not sure that my recent compositions are ‘informed’ by dance in any conceptual sense. More just that dance has been an integral part of my life, and I write the compositions that I write because I am who I am.


Read the full Q&A on the British Music Collection website.


Find out more about our Next Wave 2 project.


This work was created as part of Sound and Music’s Next Wave 2 programme. It was recorded and premiered in collaboration with Sage Gateshead and NMC Recordings. Next Wave 2 was funded by Arts Council England, PRS for Music Foundation, the Leverhulme Trust and The Angus Allnatt Charitable Foundation.


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