PETER
BARBER

ASSISTANT SUB-PRINCIPAL EMERITUS, VIOLA

Peter Barber GE8014 WEB

It is with tremendous sadness that we acknowledge the passing of our friend and colleague, Peter Barber.

Click Here for a recording of Peter's Memorial Service
Mon, 13 June, 11am

Peter Barber was passionate and unwaveringly positive in every aspect of his life, whether practising the viola at home, performing in the NZSO, or engaging with the public to talk about music and why he loved the Orchestra in which he played for 47 years.

Peter was a staunch champion of the NZSO and always excited to play to new audiences and introduce them to great music. His positivity and enthusiasm was infectious, which made him a much-loved Orchestra member, where he formed deep and lasting friendships and was admired and respected by all his colleagues. His impact on the NZSO is immeasurable. What is clear is that over 47 years and thousands of performances, he brought joy to audiences young and old.

He was equally held in high regard throughout Aotearoa New Zealand’s music community and internationally as a violist, colleague, chamber musician, and mentor, especially to young musicians.

Before joining the NZSO’s Schola Musica as a trainee player in 1975, Peter was taught by renowned music teacher Zillah Castle and played in Wellington College’s orchestra with future NZSO players Dean Major, Lucien Rizos and Donald Armstrong.

From very early in his career Peter also performed overseas. His first time was as part of a groundbreaking NZSO National Youth Orchestra tour in 1975 to the UK, China and Japan, beginning with the Seventh International Festival of Youth Orchestras in Aberdeen, Scotland.

In 1982 Peter was himself a trailblazer, when he took part in an exchange programme between the NZSO and Tokyo’s NHK Orchestra. The recipient of the first Japan Foundation Scholarship, he spent four months with the 140-piece orchestra as the sole foreign player. Three years later he studied for a year in Germany under acclaimed violist Reiner Moog and with members of the Amadeus String Quartet. He found the experience so valuable, he returned to Germany for a second year under a Deutsche Academic Scholarship accompanied by his wife Mary and their first child Jacqueline.

Over nearly five decades Peter also played in the NZSO Chamber Orchestra, New Zealand String Quartet, the New Zealand Soloists, Nevine String Quartet and the Amazon Trio, along with tutoring at the New Zealand School of Music – Te Kōkī.

Peter’s other passion was choral singing, and over the years he sang in Cantoris, Bel Canto and Nota Bene choirs.

His zest and natural curiosity also extended to languages, where he learned Mandarin and German, and, most recently, te reo. He loved tramping and the outdoors, cooking, and most of all, his family. When interviewed in 1996 when his daughter Jacqueline was nine, and his sons James and Felix were six and four, Peter saw the positives and funny side of juggling family life with often being a musician on tour.

“The job is very good from a family point of view. It’s something you can share with the children because of the hours, and music’s a much more healthy activity than many other professions or occupations, although the kids may get sick of hearing me sawing away for hours at a time.”

Peter passed away suddenly just two weeks before he was looking forward to being back on the road with the NZSO to perform in New Plymouth and Palmerston North on 15 and 18 June 2022.

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SUPPORTED BY

Dr Hylton Le Grice CNZM, OBE & Ms Angela Lindsay

STRING SECTION

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Peter Barber
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