Peter Bassano

Biography of Peter Bassano

Peter Bassano is descended from a family of Venetian musicians brought to
England by King Henry VIII in 1540,in order to augment and improve the
King's Music, the Tudor Court's wind and string consort.

He studied trombone and singing at the Royal College of Music,where
until 2004 hewas Professor of Trombone and Sackbut and Head of
the Brass Faculty.

Peter Bassano with Philharmonia brass

Peter Bassano (second from left) with fellow members of the Philharmonia Orchestra brass section

As a trombonist, he was a member of the
Philharmonia Orchestra for twenty seven years but
retained a commitment to the performance of early
music, playing the sackbut for David Munrow's Early
Music Consort, the English Baroque Soloists, the
Gabrieli Consort and His Majesties Sagbutts and Cornetts.

He was the founder and Artistic Director of the
brass quintet, Equale Brass.This ensemble made
seven records, toured world-wide, and commissioned
twenty seven new works from composers as diverse
as David Bedford,Peter Skellern, Roger Smalley
and John Taverner. He has given masterclasses at
Paris Conservatoire, Sibelius Akademy, Helsinki, Hong Kong Academy,Royal Swedish
Academy, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney Conservatoires and has been a guest lecturer at
Cambridge, Duke, Indiana, Open,Oxford,Queen's, Salford,Trinity and York Universities.

He has been conducting for more than twenty years having periods of study with
Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Elgar Howarth, Sir Charles
Mackerras, Jorma Panula and Bramwell Tovey. He is Music Director of professional ensembles The Equale Baroque Players, The Gentlemen of the Chappell and the Virtuosi of the Mannheim Court. He was assistant conductor conductor to Paul McCreesh and his Gabrieli Consort and Players on his award winning Venetian Coronation and Music at San Rocco and Sir John Eliot Gardiner for his Berlioz Romeo and Juliet recording projects.

Peter Bassano conducts Symphonie Fantastique at RCM

Peter Bassano conducts the Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra in Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique with standing upper strings as it was first performed.

In Great Britain, he has conducted at the Royal Festival Hall in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's International Series and at the Royal Albert Hall in a BBC Promenade Concert and at Symphony Hall, Birmingham. In addition he has made several Festival appearances at Aldburgh, Chester, Greenwich, Nottingham, the Three Choirs (Worcester Cathedral), as well as performances abroad with the Cascais Chamber Orchestra, the Corelli Chamber Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic, Mexican State Symphony Orchestra, Royal Danish Academy Symphony and Royal Oman Symphony.

He has conducted a number of concerts with the RCM Chamber Choir (including the first performance in modern times of Beethoven's Trauerklange), introduced a standing RCM Symphony Orchestra to an historically aware performance of Berlioz [view video] and directed the Baroque Orchestra in performances of three of Bach's Brandenberg Concertos at Buckingham Palace. In January 1995 he was one of the first conductors to appear at the newly built Paris concert hall, Cité de la Musique. He returned to this major Paris venue in July 1998 to conduct two concerts with the Grimethorpe Colliery Band to ecstatic reviews and high profile TV coverage.

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Click the family moth to hear Bassano conducting the Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra performing the end of Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique with standing upper strings as it was first performed (see photo above).
Peter Bassano with Hong Kong Conservatoire Wind Orchestra

Peter Bassano with the Hong Kong Conservatoire Wind Orchestra

In 2001 Peter became Music Director of the Wendover Choral Society winning enthusiastic praise for Christmas in Venice. He has raised the artistic profile of the choir and its performing standards to a very high level. Many of the young soloists given an early opportunity with the choir have emerged as leading opera singers on a world-wide sage: Pumeza Matshikiza, Ben Johnson, James Laing and Christina Gansch for instance. At the invitation of the Royal Opera House Peter conducted a centenary celebration of the Sousa Band's 1901 visit to Covent Garden. More recently he conducted works by Britten and MacMillan at the Aldeburgh Easter Festival and a performance of Don Giovanni with Sir Thomas Allen received a standing ovation [view video]. His conducting debuts in the past few years included the Hong Kong Academy, Oxford Sinfonia, Oxford Sinfonietta, Oxford Touring Opera, Ulster Youth Orchestra and University of London Symphony Orchestra, all regarded as highly successful.

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Click the family moth to hear Bassano conducting Scene XV from Mozart's Don Giovanni

A champion of new music he has commissioned and/or conducted the first performances of Tim Souster's Echoes (Manchester/BBC Radio 3), Joseph Horovitz's Tuba Concerto (Nottingham Festival) and Andrew Powell's Falstaff: Theme and Episodes (Paris, Cit√© de la Musique), Chris Batchelor's Weasel Words & Winning Ways, Maxwell-Davies's Laudes, Simon Dobson's Four Britten Sketches and Fanfare for Peter, Aaron Einbond's Floral Decorations for Bananas, Edmund Joliffe's Breeze, Gabriella Swallow's Spit, the UK premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen's Stockholm Diary (Oxford University), Sebastian Currier’s Remix, Britta Bystrom’s Rebellion in Greenery, Wilfred Heaton’s Meditation on Aberystwyth andRobert Saxton’s Sonata on a Prelude of Orlando Gibbons.

Peter Bassano has published research on topics as diverse as William Byrd, Beethoven, Veronese and Shakespeare. In 2013 he featured in the BBC TV Programme Francesco da Mosto’s Shakepeare in Italy

Francesco da Mosto
Peter Bassano with Francesco da Mosto on the bridge at Bassano del Grappa

Watch the Video ( Link coming soon )

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Click the family moth to hear Bassano conducting the City of Rochester Symphony Orchestra in the finale of Bruckner's Symphony no.4.