Peter Seymour

The English conductor, Peter Seymour, studied at Huddersfield School of Music and at University of York, including post-graduate work researching into the performance of baroque music. In July 1994 he was awarded the degree of D Mus., at University of York for research into performing style.

Peter Seymour is director of Yorkshire Baroque Soloists and of Yorkshire Bach Choir and has worked and recorded in most European countries. He is also an artistic adviser to York Early Music Festival and Senior Lecturer in Music and Organist at the University of York. He records regularly both as conductor and keyboard player for WDR-Köln, BBC and other radio stations.

Major recordings have included a three-year project recording the last six volumes of keyboard works by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, the J.S. Bach’s Motets (BWV 225-230), Haydn Seasons, a Viennese mass of 1648 plus related motets, and Festing’s violin sonatas with Catherine Mackintosh. BBC 3 have broadcast many recordings of Lieder recitals (using fortepiano) with such as Emma Kirkby, Barbara Schlick, Stephen Varcoe and Mark Rowlinson, including live lunchtimes with Stephen Varcoe and Emma Kirkby with whom he also devised and performed two Invitation Concerts exploring early dialogue and ornate Lieder. In the 1997 season he was again involved in Lieder recitals with Emma Kirkby and Barbara Schlick, an Early Music University Network Tour, performances of Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin and a BBC live lunchtime with Stephen Varcoe and Winterreise with David Thomas. In the summer of 1999 he gave recitals with Emma Kirkby and programmes of Goethe settings with Christoph Prégardien, Stephen Varcoe and Lynne Dawson. He also gives regular Lieder recitals with Yvonne Seymour, Ian Partridge, David Thomas and Thomas Thomaschke.

Peter Seymour conducts the WDR choir Corona Coloniensis, a specialist early music choir, with whom he has recorded programmes of Haydn, W.A. Mozart, motets of the Bach family, Cantiones sacrae by Sweelinck and madrigals by Peter Phillips. These are due for commercial release in the near future. In May 1995 the group recorded some 17th century motets from the German Baroque for both WDR and BBC and in 1998 and 2000 more motets by Sweelinck.

Recent recordings with Yorkshire Bach Choir and Yorkshire Baroque Soloists have included George Frideric Handel’s Alexander’s Feast, J.S. Bach’s Cantatas for the Feast of St Michael, Haydn’s Theresienmesse and W.A. Mozart’s Requiem, all of which were recently broadcast by BBC and WDR. A recording of W.A. Mozart’s Requiem for WDR has now been released on CD and a recording of Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas is also awaiting commercial release. With Yorkshire Bach Choir and Yorkshire Baroque Soloists he conducted and helped to devise a programme for Channel 4 about J.S. Bach’s work at Leipzig. Recordings of J.S. Bach’s Motets and a Festal Mass at the Imperial Court in Vienna 1648 were re-issued in June/July 1997 on the Carlton IMP label.

Other major BBC recordings have included a sequence of Charpentier Psalms, Purcell’s semi-opera Dioclesian (complete and with stage play), Come ye Sons of Art, Yorkshire Feast Song, Clarke’s Music on the Death of Purcell, and Blow’s Welcome every guest. He has also directed recordings for BBC of string suites by Muffat and Biber with Yorkshire Bach Choir and BBC have recently broadcast a Schubertiad and recordings of Lieder with Barbara Schlick as well as Biber’s Missa Alleluia. BBC has also broadcast several recordings of concerts with Crispian Steele-Perkins. Recent WDR recordings have included a programme of solo harpsichord by J.S. Bach, Duphly and Arne and Italian cantatas by G.F. Handel.

Peter Seymour recently appeared at various festivals in England, USA, Denmark, Germany and the Czech Republic, most recently in Festival Mitte Europa (in Germany and Czech Republic), Bachfest Leipzig, Merseburg Orgeltage, Köthener Herbst, Knechsteden, Düsseldorf, Aarhus and Corfu. He conducted the Northern Sinfonia in programmes of L.v. Beethoven, W.A. Mozart, G.F. Handel and J.S. Bach. In USA he has conducted and played concertos with Virginia Symphony Orchestra and directed performances of J.S. Bach’s cantatas and played J.S. Bach’s harpsichord concertos in Sacramento Bach Festival. He has also been conducting and playing in Corfu and Hong Kong where he conducted J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248), St Matthew Passion (BWV 244), and a series of J.S. Bach’s cantatas, as well as performing solo harpsichord recitals and recording J.S. Bach’s 5th Brandenburg Concerto.

In the last two seasons Peter Seymour has conducted J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248), St Matthew (BWV 244) and St John Passions (BWV 245); Heinrich Schütz’s Christmas History; G.F. Handel’s Israel in Egypt and Solomon; Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610; Haydn’s Creation, W.A. Mozart’s C Minor Mass, Linz Symphony and Exsultate jubilate (with Northern Sinfonia); and Felix Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Verdi’s Quattro Pezzi Sacri, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria and Edward Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius (with English Northern Philharmonia). He has also conducted, played harpsichord and gave masterclasses in Greece, Germany, the Czech Republic and in Denmark.

He has recently edited St Cecilia’s Day Odes by Daniel Purcell (Begin and strike the harmonious lyre) and John Blow (Begin the Song) which he conducted in Autumn 1998. The Blow ode was also recorded as part of a live EBU broadcast from Köln in September 1999. In July 200he directed performances in York Early Music Festival, performing programmes of H. Schütz (St John Passion (BWV 245), Seven Last Words, esurrection History) and some new editions of biblical narratives by Purcell and Blow. Both of these concerts were recorded by BBC. In the same month Yorkshire Baroque Soloists appeared in Ryedale Festival performing Purcell and Blow odes. Other recent scholarly performing editions have included Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck Cantiones Sacrae, A. Gabrieli Missa Quando lieta sperai, anthologies of Victoria psalms and antiphons (1600), motets by members of the Bach family and celebratory odes by John Blow and Daniel Purcell. These are published by York Early Music Press.

Peter Seymour the 2000-2001 season he conducts J.S. Bach’s B Minor Mass (BWV 232) and Lutheran Masses (BWV 233-236), G.F. Handel’s The ways of Zion do mourn, a programme for voices and strings by Haydn and W.A. Mozart and further English Restoration odes. He performs J.S. Bach’s F minor Harpsichord Concerto with Northern Sinfonia and also conducts them in Haydn’s Schöpfungsmesse and W.A. Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony. With English Northern Philharmonia he conducts Berlioz’ Te deum and Camille Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony.

In 2010 Peter Seymour recorded J.S. Bach’a St John Passion (BWV 245) and Mass in B minor (BWV 232) for Signum Records. Also as conductor he has performed much of the large-scale 19th and 20th century choral repertoire. As a solo keyboard player on harpsichord, fortepiano and organ he has recorded music by J.S. Bach, Dietrich Buxtehude, Georg Böhm, Johann Pachelbel, Bruhns, Purcell, Blow, Prendcourt, Stanley, Arne, Duphly; a major project for WDR-Köln was to record Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s last six volumes of keyboard works.

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