Originally trained in Canada, Pete has been based in England since 1985. Having completed almost twenty years teaching at the Guildhall School of Music, he is now Professor of Jazz Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London whilst running the jazz choir at Trinity College of Music.
His busy freelance career has included work as diverse as a year in the West End as a Musical Director of Five Guys named Moe, almost a decade and a half as the British accompanist for the legendary jazz-singer Mark Murphy and the conductor of the Kenny Wheeler Big Band.
As a performer Pete has been featured at many festivals internationally working as a singer, pianist and conductor. He has been a member of both Kenny Wheeler’s and Abdullah Ibrahim’s vocal projects, travelled extensively as Mark Murphy’s accompanist and has collaborated with, amongst others, Norma Winstone, Stan Sulzmann, John Taylor, Cleveland Watkiss, Julian Arguelles, Bobby Wellins and Tina May. He has also released several critically acclaimed jazz albums under his own name and recently conducted the 80th birthday tour of the Kenny Wheeler Big Band - culminating in a critically acclaimed new album, The Long Waiting.
As an educator and choral director, Pete is very much in demand abroad - teaching regularly in Australia (Perth, Sydney, Melbourne), including a spell as visiting Professor at the Kodaly Summer School at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. He has given Jazz workshops for the ABRSM in the Far East (Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore) and closer to home he has been a guest lecturer at the Sibelius Academy in Finland. Each summer brings regular courses in France, Spain and Italy.
Nearer to home Pete is recognised as being at the forefront of Jazz education in this country – he received the Parliamentary Award for Services to Jazz Education in 2007 and this year he has been nominated yet again. Pete has also established a national reputation for his work with Primary schools all over the country. He develops strong relationships with Music Services over several years and this results in regular performances of his ‘Groove’ Oratorios at the Albert Hall - combining massed Primary school choirs with Youth Orchestras and guest soloists from the worlds of Jazz and Musical Theatre.
Much of Pete’s time now is taken up with directing his own choir ‘The London Vocal Project’. In addition to high profile performances with Cleo Laine, Norma Winstone, Kenny Wheeler and, most recently Bobby McFerrin, this seminal ensemble of young singer/workshop leaders regularly join Pete on his massive educational projects and they are fast gaining a reputation, under his guidance, as the next generation of gifted educators. They are soon to record Kenny Wheeler’s ‘Mirrors’ suite of poetry settings with Norma Winstone and the great man himself.
Pete is married to the jazz pianist, Nikki Iles, has three children and lives in Bedfordshire.