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A Bit About Me

Pete HarrisonI studied bassoon at the Royal College of Music, not really sure what life would hold in store for me, but certain that something interesting would come along.

Having worked with various groups and orchestras, I was asked to play in a West End show, “The Hunting of the Snark” by Mike Batt. This led to a run of different shows including “Crazy for You” “Martin Guerre” Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” and “Lautrec” (What do you mean, you’ve never heard of it?!)

My first real conducting opportunity came when Jae Alexander (Musical Director) left “Crazy for You”. Paul Maguire took over the position which meant we needed an extra conductor for the show, and I was offered the job. From there I carried on as assistant conductor in the subsequent shows which was a truly memorable experience.

Through my West End contacts I am now working with Andy Barnwell fixing bands for shows as well as conducting big concerts including several with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Inspiration Choir and Raymond Gubbay Ltd.

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Prague-PetePrague Spring…..

I’ve just spent a wonderful few days in Prague conducting some sessions with The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra at the Smecky Studios. The music was written by the lovely Adam Saunders and Mark Cousins who were with us overseeing everything. It’s for a library album called Hollywood to Broadway for Focus Music run by Paul Greedus who was also with us for some of the time. A broad range of orchestral and big band numbers with some songs too.

There may well be a short video of our exploits to follow – watch this space!

Prague-2

Breaking news….!

InspirationTitle_570x64I am delighted and honoured to announce that I have been appointed Musical Director of the Inspiration Choir; Southampton.

Inspiration is a large community choir based in Newcastle, Leeds and Southampton. It came about through a passion for singing and a belief in the power of song. The name itself has a double meaning – ‘breathing in’ and ‘being inspired’.

Inspiration Southampton is partnered with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and will be giving 3 concerts a year with the orchestra in the O2 Guildhall, Southampton.

We had an amazing open day on Sunday 3rd May with about 160 people from Southampton joining four coach loads of singers from the existing choirs in Newcastle and Leeds – what an amazing atmosphere! We worked on four songs as a massed choir, listened to the joint existing choirs performing Anthem (from Chess), then we performed all together with some players from the BSO. Gary Griffiths (the founder of Inspiration) was joined by his assistant Mark Deeks and my assistant Teresa Barlow who will be with me for our weekly rehearsals on a Wednesday in Southampton.

To join the choir or to find out more please visit the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra website. Alternatively you can call 01202 669925 or email inspiration@bsorchestra.co.uk


Latest Concerts Announced.

For all my latest projects and concerts please click on the News menu above or have a look under Future Events to the right of this page.

First Inspiration Choir concert in Southampton.

InspirationTitle_570x64The first concert with Inspiration Southampton will be at the O2 Guildhall in Southampton on Sunday 19th July at 4pm and will feature some of Inspiration’s favourites including Do You Hear The People Sing?, Hallelujah Chorus, World In Union and Bohemian Rhapsody. The orchestra will be the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

doyouhear_southampton_300Bournemouth-Symphony-Orchestra

O2 Guildhall

Space Spectacular at The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

space_1500x800A spectacular concert with The Manchester Concert Orchestra on the 14th November 2015 featuring the best space themed music with exciting lighting, lasers and pyrotechnics! A voyage through a galaxy of favourite from deep space and beyond. A superb concert of space classics . . . in a galaxy of sight and sound.

The programme includes;

JOHN WILLIAMS
Star Wars • Superman Close Encounters of the Third Kind • E.T.
HOLST
Mars • Jupiter from the Planets
STRAUSS
Also Sprach Zarathustra • Blue Danube Waltz (from 2001: A Space Odyssey)
and
Star Trek • Battlestar Galactica • Thunderbirds

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Recent Past Events

Heroes & Superheroes 2 with the BSO 2015

Heroes and SuperheroesWe really couldn’t have wished for a better series of concerts – all 4 venues full with attentive and appreciative audiences. Some amazing music from the classics of Ron Goodwin and John Williams right through to modern scores from video games especially prepared for these concerts by David Buckley. As one review mentioned, this is where all the melodies have gone these days, from film to video game!

And then there was the surprise visit by Superman himself…..

Superman adSuperman rehearses

Films represented included Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia, Schindler’s List, The Last Samurai, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars and a reprise of the best superhero of them all – Superman.

Performances were;
Thursday 19th February 2015 – The Great Hall, Exeter. 7.30pm
Friday 20th February – Guildhall, Portsmouth. 7.30pm
Saturday 21st February – Lighthouse, Poole. 7.30pm
Friday 27th February – Colston Hall, Bristol. 7.30pm

Last Night of the Christmas Proms 2014 with the BSO

Poole-Full-Orchestra3 concerts full of happy singing and dancing – possibly our best Christmas concerts yet?  There was the usual mix of glittering Hollywood Classics, songs from the shows plus all the seasonal favourites including Jingle Bells, White Christmas, Sleigh Ride, The Little Drummer Boy, All I Want for Christmas is You, Let it Snow Let it Snow, Mary’s Boy Child, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, So Here it is, Merry Christmas and much, much more!

Joining the orchestra this year were two fabulous singers, Louise Dearman (Wicked & Guys and Dolls) and Lance Ellington (Strictly Come Dancing) (Thursday only) and Iain Mackenzie (Saturday and Monday) and what a great job they all did.

Lou, Iain & PeteIain, Louise & Pete

JumpersA very serious brass section!

Look what happened in our rehearsal too…..

Friday Night is Christmas Night at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama.

FNICN RWCMDI was invited to conduct a festive Friday Night Concert with the Royal Welsh College Concert Orchestra and Royal Welsh College Chamber Choir on Friday 12th December 2014 in their lovely new Dora Stoutzker Hall at the Cardiff based Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama.

An amazing hard working bunch of very motivated students who were a joy to work with. I’m sure I’ll be seeing quite a few of these guys in the future.

Concert HallConcert

WARCRY with Wells Cathedral School Symphony Orchestra.

Wells Warcry ConcertOn Friday 17th October I co-conducted a concert with the Wells Cathedral School Symphony Orchestra on the theme of war throughout the ages. The concert is part of their Prestige Series and reflects on wars throughout time using the spoken word and music. The readings were by various staff and students of the school.

The programme included;

Mars, The Bringer of War (The Planets) – Holst
Trojan’s Overture – Berlioz
Charge and Battle, Agincourt Song (Henry 5th Suite) – Walton
1812 – Tchaikovsky
Albinoni’s Adagio for Organ and Strings – Giazotto
Schindler’s List – John Williams
Hymn to the Fallen (Saving Private Ryan) – John Williams
Ride of the Valkyries – Wagner

Warcry

Spectacular Classics 2014 with the Manchester Concert Orchestra

On the 12th April 2014 I conducted aSpectacular Classics Spectacular Classics Concert with the Manchester Concert Orchestra in Bridgewater Hall. It was a great evening with the orchestra playing beautifully, spectacular lasers and fireworks (the wall of flame gave me a sun tan at the end of the 1812 Overture!) and Stephanie Corley and Paul Charles Clarke on top form. A very energetic and full house rounded off a lovely evening for all.

This was my first concert conducting in the Bridgewater Hall and a very enjoyable experience it was too. I very much look forward to my next one – watch this space!

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 Manchester Concert Orchestra at Bridgewater Hall

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 Paul, Stephanie and Pete.

Adam Saunders’ latest album “Hollywood Blockbusters 2″

Having featured some of Adam’s music in both my Christmas and Heroes & Superheroes concerts, I was delighted to have been asked to help with his latest album of library music called Hollywood Blockbusters 2. This is a short video filmed by Focus Music to promote the album;

There will be a longer video and pictures once the album’s released.

Heroes & Superheroes with the BSO 2014

Heroes-Concert-in-BasingstokeThe BSO in Basingstoke

Think of all the music, both classical and from the world of film that has been inspired by some of the great heroes of all time, both real and fictional. Put them all together and you have one amazing concert!

One minute we’re in Sherwood Forest, then on board Apollo 13, riding with the Magnificent 7, visiting the world of Batman, following Siegfried’s funeral procession, Flying to Neverland with Peter Pan and battling with pirates – and that was just the first half! Hedwig took us to Spain to see El Cid, on to William Wallace in Scotland and on to Mordor. The Lone Ranger rode us to Save Private Ryan while Dr Who and The Incredibles introduced us to Superman, all wrapped up by 007!

An incredibly successful series of concerts that were very well attended and great fun to do. Heroes & Superheroes 2 next year….?

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