Guest Conductor and Guest Concertmaster
British conductor and violinist Peter Manning is Guest Conductor and Concertmaster with The Dallas Opera, Concertmaster of the Royal Opera House and Artistic Director & Conductor of the Manning Camerata.
Peter’s conducting career also includes work with the Royal Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, the Edsberg Chamber Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Odense Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra and the Soloists of The Royal Opera House.
He was appointed Professor of New Work at Edinburgh University and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2013. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Northern College of Music as well as an honorary member of the Royal College of Music.
Peter is internationally known as one of Britain’s finest musicians. His schedule includes tours to France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Scandinavia, the Far East, the USA, South America and Russia and appearances in many major venues. Peter is the recipient of the German Recording Industry’s Schallplattenpreis.
Peter attended Chetham’s School of Music and studied at the Royal Northern College of Music with Yossi Zivoni and with Josef Gingold and Nathan Milstein at Indiana University. In 1983 he was appointed leader of the London Philharmonic Orchestra by Georg Solti. He was leader of the internationally renowned Britten Quartet 1986–96 and led the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra 1997–99. His repertory includes all the major works, and he is active in the commissioning of new works.
Peter was born in Manchester. He was taught the violin as a 5 year old by the leader of Sir John Barbirolli’s Halle Orchestra. From the earliest age he began playing string quartets.
Growing up in Manchester, Peter made his debut at the Free Trade Hall while still a child and won all the national junior competitions available to a string player; he also appeared on television.
He went on to study at Chethams and the Royal Northern College of Music where he won all the string prizes. After becoming a prize winner on the North West Young Artist platform, Peter was selected for Granada TV’s young artist broadcast program and gained acceptance onto Yehudi Menhuin’s Live Music Now program.
He was a founding member of the Britten–Pears Orchestra and performed for Benjamin Britten. Mr. Manning developed solo performances with Hans Werner-Henze as a student.
Whilst still a student himself, he gave performances and recital broadcasts and performed as a soloist with the Halle Orchestra. Major scholarships from the Royal Society of Arts, the National Federation of Music Societies and Indiana University made it possible for Manning to pursue further studies in Bloomington with Josef Gingold, the concertmaster of both George Szell’s Cleveland Orchestra and Toscanini’s NBC Symphony Orchestra.
Prior to leaving for the US he won awards in the Emily Anderson International violin competition and was 1st prize winner and gold medalist in the Royal Over-Seas League competition, an annual competition won some years previously by Jaqueline du Pre. Overseas, he completed his studies with Nathan Milstein.
Upon his return to England, Manning was appointed as the youngest-ever professor of violin at the RNCM and went on to make his official debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra in a live broadcast from the Royal Festival Hall. His regular radio broadcasts of the violin repertoire were a major programming feature on Radio 3 in these years and he embarked upon solo concerts with the major orchestras: the Halle, CBSO, Philharmonia, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Academy of St Martins, BBC Scottish, Ulster Orchestra, LPO, RPO, Gothenberg Symphony and many more.
In 1983 he was appointed as Leader of the LPO by Sir Georg Solti going on to found the Britten String Quartet in 1986, which for ten years as an EMI string quartet performed in all the major concert halls and international festivals, touring the world with the works of eminent composers (Lutoslawski, Schnittke, Gubadalina, Elaisson, Henze, Sven Erick Beck, Sir Michael Tippett, Cristobel Halfter Martland, Kurtag) and inviting leading instrumentalists (Lynn Harrell, John Ogdon, Jean-Yves Tibaudet, Amanda Roocroft, Willard White, Leif Ove Andsnes, Julian Lloyd Webber, Gervaise de Peyer Lars Vogt etc.) and singers to join with the quartet for enlarged chamber music experiences.
The Quartet was one of the most recorded quartets of its generation with an award-winning discography of some 23 discs.
Peter has always worked with living composers and his broadcast career on radio and television has encompassed all their major works.
He was asked to become Leader of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1997 with Danielle Gatti and helped to reposition the orchestra and left the RPO when he was appointed as Concertmaster of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
In 2005 he set up his own arts think-tank/ orchestra called, Manning Camerata, in an effort to create a wider dialogue around the arts in the UK and Europe. From its first concert event, his orchestra has worked throughout Europe delivering a catalogue of firsts: producing and giving the first opera in Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in association with Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney to the first ever performance under the Pyramid of the Louvre in Paris. Manning also brought opera, chamber music, film realizations and the fusing of the creative arts—with music at the center—to the Chapel of Knights Hospitaller in Rome.
The orchestra has been involved in Climate Change 500, an initiative for governments, and was invited to create soundscapes for MASTER PIECE, the UK’s largest arts fair, attracting 40,000 patrons to the Chelsea Royal Hospital before opening a new residency series for development in Oxford.
Peter Manning accepted an invitation to serve as Music Director for St. Paul’s annual charity event with Maggies Centres where he will conduct Dame Ann Murray and Pumeza with Helena Bonham Carter, Rory Bremner and Adele in front of an audience of 2500 people, including royalty, in December.
Peter is now well known as a conductor and has guided The BBCSO, The Odense Symphony Orchestra, The RPO, and The Krasnoyarsk Philharmonic from the podium. He served as artistic director of Sweden’s oldest established chamber orchestra, Musica Vitae, for three successful seasons, winning back for them a national radio contract. Sir Colin Davis and Sir Charles Mackerras were mentors to Peter in his conducting development.
Closer to home, Peter has experience in developing national companies and was asked to become the first Joint Professor between Glasgow’s Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the University of Edinburgh; the idea being to populate the Edinburgh fringe with new work based on arts collaborations including dance, improvisation, film and technology while simultaneously evolving new media platforms.
His festival called “Oxygen” experienced a second successful year in Edinburgh and currently is developing strong partnerships in Scotland and elsewhere to promote Scottish arts.
Peter Manning has recently recorded Mahler’s Fourth Symphony in the Glasgow concert hall with students from the RCS, due to be released on the Nimbus label next fall. He was also the subject of an award-winning 2010 documentary entitled, Manning the Baton, an intimate look at his work with the musicians of Musica Vitae.
This season has seen Peter conduct for the ‘Concerto for the Commonwealth’ with Nicola Benedetti alongside invitations to conduct at Sadlers Wells for Sergei Polunin and other stars at a major Gala. Peter also was invited by the City of Antwerp to conduct an official commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of composer Richard Strauss.
He is passionate advocate for UK Arts and is a board member of the National Campaign for the Arts. Peter Manning has led projects to bring younger people to opera with his ground-breaking format approach to delivering German Opera to the state school sector; collaborating with theatre director Rachel Grunwald to great acclaim. Peter is also working with the Mayor of London’s open space called, The Scoop, to widen access.
He is published by Universal Edition in Vienna and Schott in London. His arrangement of the Tippett Quartets for Orchestra will be published next fall by Schott, in accordance with the wishes of the Tippett Estate.
Photo of Mr. Manning: Charlie Hopkinson