Gervase de Peyer

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Gervase de Peyer
Born(1926-04-11)11 April 1926
London, England, UK
OriginLondon, England, UK
Died4 February 2017(2017-02-04) (aged 90)
Occupation(s)Soloist, conductor
Years active1950–2017

Gervase Alan de Peyer (11 April 1926 – 4 February 2017)[1] was an English clarinetist and conductor.

Professional career[edit]

Gervase Alan de Peyer was born in London and attended Bedales School.[2] He was awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Music where he studied clarinet with Frederick Thurston and piano with Arthur Alexander. Towards the end of World War II, when he was aged 18, he joined the Royal Marines Band Service. De Peyer returned to the Royal College of Music after the war and subsequently studied in Paris with Louis Cahuzac.[3]

In 1950 he was a founding member of the Melos Ensemble for which he continued to play until 1974. He conducted their recordings with EMI.[4]

Their recordings of chamber music for both woodwinds and strings were reissued in 2011, including the works for larger ensembles which were the reason to found the ensemble, such as Beethoven's Septet and Octet, Schubert's Octet and Ravel's Introduction and Allegro, played with Osian Ellis (harp), Richard Adeney (flute), Emanuel Hurwitz and Ivor McMahon (violin), Cecil Aronowitz (viola) and Terence Weil (cello).[5]

From 1956-73 he was principal clarinet of the London Symphony Orchestra.[6] He was a founding member of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York in 1969 and played with them for 20 years.[7]

He conducted the English Chamber Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Melos Sinfonia, he directed the London Symphony Orchestra Wind Ensemble and was the associate conductor of the Haydn Orchestra. In 1959 he began teaching at the Royal Academy of Music.[6]

De Peyer played first performances of concertos by Arnold Cooke, Sebastian Forbes, Alun Hoddinott, Joseph Horovitz, Thea Musgrave, Elizabeth Maconchy, William Mathias and Edwin Roxburgh.[6] He premiered Miklós Rózsa's Sonata for Clarinet Solo in 1987.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Emerson, June (14 February 2017). "Gervase de Peyer obituary". Retrieved 3 March 2017 – via The Guardian.
  2. ^ Gervase de Peyer homepage Archived 2010-10-05 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Brown, John Robert (December 2005). "Gervase de Peyer in his 80th Year. Part One". The Clarinet. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  4. ^ Joseph Stevenson, Melos Ensemble of London profile,; accessed 5 February 2017.
  5. ^ Melos Ensemble – Music among Friends EMI website; accessed 5 February 2017
  6. ^ a b c Pamela Weston. "De Peyer, Gervase". In Deane L. Root. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. (subscription required)
  7. ^ Brown, John Robert (March 2006). "Gervase de Peyer in his 80th Year. Part Two". The Clarinet. 33 (2). Retrieved 5 February 2017.

Further reading[edit]