Top of the page

Peter Reynolds 1958 – 2016

PETER REYNOLDS 1958 – 2016Peter Reynolds

The classical music world in Wales has reacted with sadness to the news of the sudden death of Peter Reynolds, a composer with a rare combination of skills who made a significant contribution to many aspects of the musical life of Wales.

His compositions are informed by a deep knowledge of contemporary music and culture. He worked principally in smaller scale forms, which suited the distinctive and particular style of his work. His encyclopedic knowledge helped rather than hindered the development of an individual voice and he leaves a legacy of work of great skill and integrity. Evident in that work also is an interest in the quirky and individualistic together with the will and ability to capture the imagination of a broader audience. His four-minute opera The Sand of Time (1993) is listed by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s shortest opera and at the time of his death he was working on a car horn fanfare for the Vale of Glamorgan Festival to be performed by vintage cars at the Barry Waterfront.

His work as a composer fed into myriad contributions to the musical life of Wales. He founded the PM Ensemble, which for many years enlivened the contemporary music world. He was also for more than a decade Artistic Director of the Lower Machen Festival. He advised on and curated programming for many concert series including the International Concert Series at St. David’s Hall, foyer concerts at the Wales Millennium Centre, and chamber music concerts at the Reardon Smith Lecture Theatre Cardiff. In 2009 the BBC published his book on the history of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. He also contributed articles, reviews and programme notes to a wide number of publications and concert organisations.

As a teacher, he was a long-term member of the academic staff of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and between 2010 and 2013 was Composer-in-Residence for the Young Composer of Dyfed a role he had recently resumed. He played a valuable part in the governance of a number of musical organizations including the Vale of Glamorgan Festival and Tŷ Cerdd – Music Centre Wales. His advice and support was often sought, greatly valued and freely given.

In all of this he was sensitive and well-informed, a deeply trusted and much-loved friend and mentor to colleagues. His kindness, intelligence, instinctive generosity of spirit, and wit live on in a fascinating catalogue of musical works.

John Metcalf 12th October 2016