As a composer, Peter has enjoyed considerable success in the UK and Australia with a variety of choral and orchestral works.
Shortly after completing his composition degree, one of Peter’s instrumental compositions was featured in a live concert performance on ABC Radio. In Melbourne Peter composed a number of short choral works for the choir of Queen’s College, Melbourne University, including settings of the Mass.
During his term as Director of Music at St Peter’s Cathedral, Adelaide, Peter composed a Te Deum (first performed at Easter, 1994) as well as a setting of Preces and Responses for Evensong, together with numerous hymn descants. His descants and responses are still in the repertory of the Cathedral choir, and Certaine Notes (the chamber choir founded by Peter in 1994) today.
In 1998 the Cathedral Singers of Christ Church, Oxford, performed the premiere of Peter’s anthem O soft, self-wounding Pelican, and in the same year he composed his Christmas motet O magnum mysterium for the City of Oxford Choir, who performed it at Keble College Chapel, Oxford.
O soft self-wounding Pelican (published by Parish Publications, Cheltenham) has now become a firm fixture in the repertoire of the choir of St George’s Hanover Square, London (where Peter was a tenor lay-clerk from 2000-04) and has also been performed by Collegium Singers.
In 1999 Peter was invited by Ian Higginson, conductor of Cheltenham Choral Society, to compose a short Christmas motet Videntes Stellam, which has also been performed (along with other works by Peter) by Jubilate Chamber Choir under Higginson.
In 2000 Peter wrote a setting of Ascendit Deus for the choir of the Oxford Oratory, who performed it on Ascension Sunday in the same year. Also in 2000 he was asked by the RSCM to compose a short anthem for SSAA voices, Still near me, O my saviour, which was performed at the RSCM Easter course.
Recent compositions include two settings of wedding anthems, Set me as a seal upon thine heart and Quod ergo Deus iunxit (Those whom God has joined together, let no-one put asunder), the first having been composed for the marriage of Alison Calvert and Simon Dawson in 2009, the second for Peter’s own marriage to Suzie Read in 2010. Set me as a seal was also performed by Collegium Singers in 2009 and Harmonia Sacra in 2010.
On 22 October 2011 at 7.30 pm in King’s College Chapel, Taunton, Collegium Singers performed the world premiére of ‘For the Fallen’, a Requiem composed by Peter Leech and dedicated to 40 Commando, Royal Marines.
For the Fallen was recorded on CD by Collegium Singers and released in 2013, with the very kind support of Help for Heroes.
Copies of the CD are available from the Collegium Singers website.
The work was performed again in October 2013 in a joint Remembrance concert with Sheldon Singers. See the Collegium Singers website for a review.
A movement from For the Fallen – set to the immortal words of the Remembrance Ode They shall grow not old – was broadcast by BBC Somerset on 6 November 2013. The same movement can also be found on YouTube
Peter’s most recent composition commissions have included an anthem O may I join the choir invisible for Trinity Singers (North Somerset) and a setting of Do not stand beside my grave and weep for the Dutch choir Panta Rhei Vocaal, composed in memory of the organist and choirmaster Christopher Manners LRAM, who died suddenly in 2013.
Peter was deeply honoured that Panta Rhei Vocaal performed For the Fallen in September 2014 for the 70th anniversary of Operation Market Garden in 1944 supported by the Nationaal Bevrijdingsmuseum (National Liberation museum)
Peter’s setting of In Flanders Fields, composed to mark the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Truce on the battlefields of the Western Front in 1914, was premiered by Collegium Singers in December 2014.
Somerset County Gazette music critic Harold Mead wrote: ‘The musical highlight of the evening was Peter Leech’s In Flanders Fields. Peter’s music was powerful and this work deserves to be heard again and again. I was struck by how the music reflected the shifts between the horrors of war and the calm which can come later.’ For a full review please visit the Classical Music website.
Peter’s new setting of the Cradle Hymn ‘Dormi Jesu’ was premiered by Harmonia Sacra at their 2014 Advent Reflections concert, and performed again at the December 2014 Carols at All Saints Church, Weston-super-Mare.
In October and November 2014 Peter was Composer-in-Residence at Churchill Academy, coaching Year 9 and 10 students on their compositions for string quartet in a highly successful project sponsored by Churchill Music. The student’s works were performed by Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra string quartet led by Jenni Curiel.
The Requiem For the Fallen will be performed in Melbourne, Australia in March 2015 by Polyphonic Voices under Michael Fulcher and again in Holland in May 2015 by Panta Rhei Vocaal under Frank Litjens.
Choirs interested in performing any of the works mentioned here should contact the composer directly firstname.lastname@example.org