Peter Gambie received his musical education at the University of Reading and Dartington College of Arts. Imogen Holst had previously been Director of Music and had left an indelible mark on the principle of demystifying classical music. His tutor for composition at Dartington was Helen Glatz, who had herself studied with Ralph Vaughan Williams and Charles Groves.
Peter’s early career was spent in Southampton and included conducting the City’s symphonic wind band. During this period the band frequently appeared in the finals of the prestigious National Festival for Youth. At this time, Peter was an active composer of electronic music and several of his compositions were premiered at the Southbank Centre.
He was appointed Musical Director of Southampton Choral Society, following the departure of Aidan Fairlie in 2008, and is also conductor of the Renaissance Choir which specialises in performing unaccompanied choral music from the Renaissance period. Peter has conducted the first Anglo-Hungarian joint performance of Tallis’s towering motet Spem in Alium with the world-class Budapest Monteverdi Choir and has strong links with, and has conducted, many other choirs across Europe.
During his time with the Choral Society, Peter has seen the membership rise from below 70 to 136, with many younger recruits now ensuring the long-term future of the choir. He has honed the choir’s skills in terms of both musical performance and music theory but is particularly pleased with the way the choir responds to his wish for singers to “get inside the music” by learning about the composer and the circumstances in which pieces were composed. Many audience members have remarked that the choir has never sounded better.
Sights have been raised ever higher, with performances of Bach’s B minor mass, Tavener’s Svyati, sharing a platform with Dame Emma Kirkby and a Community Arts Award of £10,000 from the BBC to commission Ian Schofield’s ‘Freedom’.