contact us Members only


Peter Farnbank first studied conducting as a Sixth-Former under Andrew Payne, who was an ex-Army bandmaster, and Geoffrey Tristram FRCO at St Peter's Independent School, Bournemouth. He studied the violin under Alan Powell (Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra) and Mark Knight (Professor of Violin and Viola at Guildhall School of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music).

Peter has a Licentiate diploma from The Royal Schools of Music and an Associate diploma from Trinity College of Music and Drama London. While an international student on a University of the State of New York college program, he passed the US Graduate Record Exam in Music on the 95th percentile in the 7700-strong cohort. He recalls taking exams on a US military base "somewhere in Europe", invigilated by a "giant" of a USN Commander - "Pretty scary!!". However, Peter decided not to pursue a postgraduate degree in Music.

Between 1978 and 1988 Peter taught music from Infants up to A-Level in Gibraltar schools after qualifying from Southampton University. He played violin, viola and double-bass - although "not at the same time!" - in the Gibraltar Symphony Orchestra. Peter was conductor/MD of the Gibraltar Youth Orchestra and Music Adviser to the Gibraltar Music Centre, while also teaching the violin privately. He also formed and conducted the Camerata Singers (a female-youth a cappella choir). He had the privilege of guest-conducting the Gibraltar Choral Society in the Christmas broadcast by Gibraltar Radio in 1978.

Peter returned from the Mediterranean in 1988, and settled in the Northwest “because of the friendliness of the people here”. He now lives in the Greater Manchester area, where he pursues a varied musical life. From February 2010 to September 2011 he was leader of the Blackpool Symphony Orchestra. He formed and led The Cameo String Quartet for 23 years until he relocated. Peter is currently the MD/Conductor and Tutor of the Lowry String Group, an adult-returners' string ensemble in Salford, Manchester.

Peter is now a retired Educational Psychologist, although he still does part-time locum work for some educational psychology services. He is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. Music and Psychology, especially music psychology for autism, remain Peter's passions, and he is a member of the Society for Education Music and Psychology Research. He has three grown-up children living in the Northwest, and is a proud grandfather to a boy and two girls all born in Manchester. "Life seems busier when you're retired", he said.