Chair – Peter Allwood
In June 2017, Peter Allwood succeeded Prof. Peter Toyne as Chair of the Friends of Cathedral Music. Peter was educated at Tiffin School, Kingston, as a Choral Scholar at King’s College, Cambridge, and then for one postgraduate year at Durham University. He was Director of Music at Leighton Park, Oundle and Christ’s Hospital before becoming Head of Lichfield Cathedral School where he established secondary education through to Sixth Form. He is now a freelance conductor, composer and examiner.
Peter was not fortunate enough to be a chorister in a Cathedral choir. But he was a chorister in a large, ambitious choir in a small ‘daughter’ church in Walton-on-Thames, and then had a wonderful musical education at Tiffin School in Kingston upon Thames, with an excellent choir run by Bruce Pullan. He read music at Kings College, Cambridge, singing as a choral scholar under the direction of Sir David Willcocks and Sir Philip Ledger. After a year’s study in Durham, where he was conductor of the University Chamber Choir, he became Director of Music first at Leighton Park (Quaker) School in Reading, then Oundle School, Northamptonshire and, from 1985, at Christ’s Hospital (Bluecoat School) in Horsham. During that time he conducted many operas and orchestral concerts, and worked with both adult and children’s choirs, recording a number of CDs on the Guild and Carlton Labels.
Peter was a director of the National Youth Music Theatre from 1978 – 2000, composing and musically directing many shows during that time. His compositions for the NYMT include Bendigo Boswell (BBC TV 1983), Jack Spratt VC (Edinburgh Fringe First 1985), The Little Rats (Sadler’s Wells 1989), Aurelius (Edinburgh 1997), and Pendragon (Far East, London, Edinburgh, Broadway, BBC TV, recorded on the TER Label).
Sacred compositions include The Dream of the Rood (1993), a sacred music drama commissioned by St Albans Abbey for their Twelfth Century Celebrations, Out of the Mouths of Children (2011) for unaccompanied Double SATB and Children’s Choir, commissioned for the Tagore Festival in Calcutta, and a setting of Psalm 150 commissioned for performance by Winchester Cathedral Choir in May 2014
From 2001 to 2011, Peter was Headmaster of Lichfield Cathedral School, during which time it expanded from a prep school to an all-through, 3-18, coeducational school, and as Head he was responsible for founding a new Girls’ Choir for Lichfield which is now thoroughly integrated into the Cathedral Choral Foundation
Peter is now a freelance musician. He currently directs the Sandgate Singers and the Chantry Quire on a regular basis, and is an occasional guest conductor with other choirs and orchestras. He is working on various composition projects, including a major revision of The Dream of the Rood. In addition, he acts as a consultant on choral appointments, adjudicates choral and instrumental competitions, examines for the Associated Board and runs choral workshops and singing weekends in this country and abroad.