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Timothy Peters

Spotlight

Introducing our next spotlight artist - Timothy Peters! As a multi-instrumentalist, Timothy is usually found either singing or playing trombone/piano with a variety of different groups. If he's not performing, you will definitely see him musically directing some of Sheffield's finest choirs. Time to find out more...

What projects do you have on the go at the moment in Sheffield?

I’ve got a few projects keeping me very busy this term. I’m pulling a choir together for the BBC Music Day on Friday 28th September to sing some Sheffield pop hits with George Morton and the Sheffield Youth Orchestra. The next day is the University of Sheffield’s Sounds of the Antarctic concert, for which I have assembled some more singers to perform in Vaughan Williams’ Sinfonia Antartica with George Morton and the Sheffield Rep Orchestra. In November, I’m touring the UK with Gary Numan and Kantos Chamber Choir.

My biggest project this term however is Bill Frog to the Rescue, a children’s opera that Nicholas Alexander, of Screaming Maldini, and I have composed. We’ve been working on it since January of this year, and it is being performed at Sheffield Cathedral on Wednesday 28th November by around 200 children, accompanied by a professional 7-piece band, led by Tom Crathorne and Eloise Simpson. The opera has been taken on by Sheffield High School for Girls as an outreach project, meaning children from four primary schools and Sheffield High School will take part, with the Sheffield Cathedral’s Young Voices choir leading the way.

What's your most memorable musical experience?

Now there’s a tricky question! I’ve been fortunate enough to make and experience all kinds of music in all kinds of settings, from singing for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, to having Sheffield Cathedral choir commission and perform one of my compositions. However, I think the winner must be the final workshop I led in my 'Northern Uganda Sings!' project in the summer over 2017. I toured northern Uganda on behalf of the charity ‘Seeds for Development’, delivering choral workshops in some of the most remote and impoverished communities. These communities hadn’t confidently made music in over a decade, since the Lord’s Resistance Army terrorised the areas.

Seeing these 30-or-so people open up by dancing and singing was delightful, and seeing little boy with malaria and ringworm, previously curled up on the edge of the clearing, now beaming at his mum’s performance reduced me to tears.

What is your favourite thing about the music scene in Sheffield?

I love the music scene in Sheffield. There is a vast amount of superb amateur music-making here, and all the ensembles are always looking out for each other. This is true for the band-scene in Sheffield too; all the bands support each other, hire each other and go and watch each other.

What advice would you give to budding musical directors?

The best advice I could give to budding musical directors would be to really gel with your ensemble, both musically and socially. Whilst you are leading the ensemble, it’s important not to forget that you are also part of the ensemble, and you shouldn’t be afraid to listen to what your ensemble wants from you.

If the ensemble isn’t sounding how you want it to, then you should be willing to change your approach. Further to this, you shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes or do new things with the music; you can only be creative when you make mistakes, and you can only enable true music when you know which of those mistakes to keep.

What’s your favourite music venue in Sheffield and why?

Sheffield is full of original spaces to make music. As a rehearsal space, I love Yellow Arch Studios. When performing in a band, I think it must be the O2 Academy, just because then there’s loads of space to dance when not playing. For classical performance, I have the amazing privilege of singing at Sheffield Cathedral five times a week, and the way the choir blends in the acoustic there is divine.

What is your favourite piece to perform and why?

Having the opportunity to work on Bach’s Mass in B minor last year passed my repertoire quality assurance test with flying colours. I am extremely grateful to Stewart Campbell, who produced the concert series, for opportunity to lead the chorus. It was the only piece of music I listened to for three months and I never got bored of it, in fact I grew to love it more and more with each listen. Performing it with the English Touring Opera’s Jonathan Peter Kenny, their soloists, the Old Street Band and a choir I had hand-picked was the perfect way for me to start my career as a freelance musician.

In your opinion, which other ensemble/musician in Sheffield is doing great things?

In the last couple of years, I’ve delighted in watching Gina Walter’s ‘Neighbourhood Voices’ choir go from strength the strength. Gina set up the choir as a safe space for women to meet and have fun singing. I first saw them perform when they supported Otis Mensah at Edison’s Cafe. I loved the concept of a choir supporting a rapper. It worked brilliantly because of Gina’s charming repertoire choices. This term they’ve had over 60 women in the choir and have appointed the brilliant choral conductor Olivia Shotton.

Sell your next concert to us in one sentence!

This will be a long sentence but bear with: I have lots of concerts in lots of different capacities coming up, but I’d like to advertise both Life Aquatic Band’s support of Patawawa at Yellow Arch on 11th October where we will be playing our iconic ‘psychedelic curveball’ (NME, 2018) tunes, as well as the next instalment of the English Touring Opera’s visit to Sheffield where I will be joining the chorus for Bach’s St Matthew Passion - as opposed to accompanying it, which I am currently attempting with Escafeld Chorale.

Photography by Matt Giles

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