Irish-born Peter Whelan is a versatile musician, with a diverse repertoire spanning over 400 years. He is in constant demand as a bassoonist, director, chamber musician and teacher.
Peter is the founder and artistic director of Ensemble Marsyas. Directing from the harpsichord, Peter has led Ensemble Marsyas in performances at the Wigmore Hall, Dublin Castle and at the Lammermuir and Great Music in Irish Houses Festivals.
As director, Peter has a particular passion for exploring and championing neglected and forgotten music of the baroque era. Recent projects funded by The Arts Council (Ireland) and Creative Scotland involved recreating from the manuscripts and staging in live performance choral and symphonic music from eighteenth-century Dublin and Edinburgh.
In 2017, Peter conducted a production of Acis and Galatea with Opera Theatre Company in collaboration with the Irish Baroque Orchestra and in August he will make his directing debut at the Edinburgh International Festival and Kilkenny Arts Festival.
Equally at home on historical and modern instruments, Peter holds the position of principal bassoon in both the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. He has been described as a “phenomenon on the baroque bassoon” (Crescendo Magazine, Germany), whose performances feature “jaw-dropping dexterous virtuosity” (Gramophone).
As a concerto soloist, Peter has performed in many of the world’s most prestigious venues, including the Musikverein (Vienna), the Lincoln Centre (NY) and the Wigmore Hall (London- broadcast live on BBC radio). In May 2016, Peter gave the première of a specially commissioned bassoon concerto by American composer Michael Gordon, performing with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at the Southbank Centre.
As a chamber musician, Peter has collaborated with the Belcea Quartet, Francois Leleux, Robert Levin, Kris Bezuidenhout, Anthony Marwood and Monica Huggett, and he appears with Tori Amos in her album Night of Hunters (Deutsche Grammophon, 2011).
Peter has an extensive discography, including the Weber bassoon concerto (LINN, 2015) with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and the Mozart Concerto and Haydn Sinfonia Concertante (Hyperion, 2015) with Arcangelo. With Ensemble Marsyas, Peter’s recording of the Sonatas of Zelenka (LINN, 2012) and a second disc of the music of Fasch (LINN, 2014) were both awarded a Pizzicato-Supersonic Award and were highlighted as BBC Music Magazine’s ‘Editor’s Choice’.