Born in London, Peter Selwyn read Modern Languages at Cambridge and studied piano at the Royal Academy of Music. He is one of the UK’s most experienced opera conductors, having conducted and assisted on over 100 works in some of the top international houses and festivals in the UK and Europe. Peter is also a Professor at the Royal College of Music.
He began his career on the music staff of English National Opera before moving to the Royal Opera, where he assisted and played for many of the world’s great singers and conductors. From 1999 to 2005 he worked as Kapellmeister and Head of Music at the Staatstheater Nürnberg. At Bayreuth he worked for three seasons as assistant to Adam Fischer and Giuseppe Sinopoli on the millennial Ring Cycle.
In Nuremberg he conducted among others Peter Grimes, Rigoletto, La traviata, Carmen, La bohème, Iphigenie en Tauride, Hänsel und Gretel, Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor and the major Mozart operas. Since his return to the UK he has made conducting debuts at Opera North Fidelio, Roméo et Juliette, Welsh National Opera Carmen, Opera Holland Park Hänsel und Gretel, La rondine and English Touring Opera Jenůfa, La Cenerentola, The Emperor of Atlantis. Other engagements abroad include Salome for the Singapore Lyric Opera, A Little Night Music for Stadttheater Fürth and the first performances in Hungary of The Rape of Lucretia for the European Opera Centre. He has also conducted numerous world premières, including Hear Our Voice by Jonathan Dove in London, Nuremberg, at the Prague State Opera, and for English National Opera’s Baylis Programme in London and Australia.
Peter has worked as assistant conductor at ROH, ENO, Opera North, Glyndebourne, at European opera houses including Hamburg, Oslo and Strasbourg, at the Aldeburgh and Bregenz Festivals, and on opera projects with the BBCSO at the Proms and with the CBSO, working with eminent conductors such as Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Mark Elder and Sir Richard Armstrong. In Nuremberg he assisted Philippe Auguin on productions including the Ring Cycle, Meistersinger and Pelléas et Mélisande. He has worked as music director on a number of projects with Opera Genesis at the ROH, National Opera Studio, ENO Studio and Baylis Programme, and has conducted for numerous small companies including European Chamber Opera, Pimlico Opera, Pegasus Opera and Brent Opera.
He also has a large and varied symphonic repertoire and has worked with many orchestras and ensembles in Europe and UK including the Nürnberger Philharmoniker, Wiener Symphoniker, Orchestra dell’ Teatro Comunale di Bologna, City of London Sinfonia, Orchestras of Opera North and Welsh National Opera, Southbank Sinfonia and the Aurora Orchestra.
He is co-founder and Artistic Director of the Internationales Kammermusikfestival Nürnberg, for whom he has conducted The Rape of Lucretia, which was broadcast by Bayerischer Rundfunk, The Turn of the Screw, Owen Wingrave, Noye´s Fludde, Dido and Aeneas, The Soldier´s Tale and several world premieres.
Das Rheingold / Grimeborn Opera Festival / 2019
“The score, conducted to fully immersive effect by Peter Selwyn…”
“Selwyn is a considerable conductor and his attention to orchestral texture helps the score to emerge as the epic it is."
The Rape of Lucretia / Grimeborn Opera Festival / 2018
“…Peter Selwyn conducted a full-blooded performance.”
“…the Orpheus Sinfonia deliver Britten's score so splendidly under Peter Selwyn's direction.”
Die Walküre / Berwick Festival Opera / Perth Concert Hall / 2015
"This was the real McCoy, with very detailed playing from the Hebrides Ensemble, fleshed out with terrific playing from the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland Camerata, given the full Wagner surge by conductor Peter Selwyn"(Herald Scotland)
"Under the baton of Peter Selwyn… clarity of texture was paramount in capturing and communicating the essence of the score"