Peter Wishart (composer)

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Peter Charles Arthur Wishart (25 June 1921 – 14 August 1984) was an English composer. Wishart was born in Crowborough. He studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris from 1947–1948 and taught at the Guildhall School of Music, Birmingham University, King's College London and Reading University where he was Professor of Music from 1977. His compositions include several neo-classical operas, orchestral and chamber pieces, and a large amount of church music. Critics have commented on Wishart's strong and individual lyricism,[1] and his admiration for the music of Igor Stravinsky.

He was married to the mezzo-soprano singer Maureen Lehane, with whom he worked with at Reading University and lived within Bridge House, near Frome, Somerset. His son by a previous marriage James Wishart is also a composer. After his death, Maureen began a music festival in his memory, the Great Elm Music Festival, and later the Jackdaws Music Education Trust. She died on 27 December 2010.

The family is unrelated to that of the composer Trevor Wishart.


His music is published by various publishing houses, including Banks Music Ltd., Stainer & Bell, Hinrichsen, OUP and Jackdaws Publications. His output was primarily as a vocal composer, writing songs and operas.



  • A Lover's Lullaby – words by George Gascoine
  • Complaint of a Hen-Pecked Husband – words Anonymous
  • Feste's Song – words by Shakespeare
  • Merry Go Round – words by Robert McAuley
  • Mountebank's Song – words Anonymous
  • Serenade – words by Thomas Campion
  • The Jackdaw – arguably Wishart's most well known song, dedicated to his wife Maureen Lehane with words by William Cowper and completed on 27 January 1965, Hampstead.
  • Spider – Words by Lord de Taberly
  • Cat Goddesses – words by Robert Graves
  • Henry & Mary – words by Robert Graves
  • Quatre Petits Negres Blancs – words Anonymous
  • Spring Sadness – words Anonymous, translated by Helen Waddell
  • The Bedpost – words by Robert Graves
  • The Magpie – words by James McAuley
  • The Pessimist – words by Benjamin King
  • Tune for Swans – words by James McAuley
  • You are a Refuge – St Augustine

Published by Banks Music Publications

  • Bird of Paradise – words by Robert Graves, Medium Voice (BSS2018)
  • Fidele – words by Shakespeare
  • Two Shakespeare Songs for medium voice (BSS2011)

Published by Hinrichsen

  • June Twilight – words by John Masefield, Medium voice (H-999)
  • Mistress Mine – words by Shakespeare, Baritone (H-567)
  • Spring Sadness – words by Helen Waddell, Medium voice (H-998)