Peter Waters, Composer and Pianist

composing for commissions /



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This site is to inform Peter’s precious audience of his latest musical activities and sounds, but also to offer the possibility to those readers among you to express your wishes should you be interested in a Peter Waters composition. You will become part of a dialogue, part of the creative process.

Interest in a composition which is your very own may be related to a special event.

a wedding… a scholastic event… a celebration or dinner… a gift to a loved one… a biographical event or description… a  theatrical or religious performance… a special journey… a sport event… a favourite place in nature…

There are no limits and Peter is delighted to compose a new musical work especially for you.


Peter Waters Commissions (*= Customer, Auftragsgeber)

  • “The Kiss of Life” suite in 3 movements (for the inauguration of the new Seminar Room in Gasthaus Krone Speicher) (*Dr. Konrad Hummler)
  • “Between 2 Concerti” (with quotations from Mozart Piano Concerti KV 595 and 488) (*Andrea Herold, Trogen)
  • “After the Fugue” (*Fondazione Siotto, Cagliari, Sardinia)
  • “Open Space” (in memoriam Christoph Gsell) (*Marianna Hochreutener, Teufen)
  • Chopin : 4 Peter (for trumpet and piano)(*Peter Roth, Unterwasser)
  • “Winter Song” (for trumpet and piano) (*Barossa Festival, Australia)
  • “Du bist die Ruh” (Schubert/Waters) (*Fondazione Siotto, Cagliari)
  • “Elena” (*Fondazione Siotto, Cagliari)
  • “For Dora” (*Dora Müller, St.Gallen)
  • “Fantasy on the Adagio für Glasharmonika KV 620” (*Andrea Herold, Trogen)
  • “On Etna” (*Gianluca Tommasi, Cagliari)
  • “Hommage à J.S.Bach” (*Paolo Fresu, Berchidda)
  • “Aniko Mari” (*Juliet Shaxson, Richterswil)
  • “Inside Säntis” (*Hans Höhener, Teufen)
  • “Alba” (*Elena Perra, Cagliari)

In the last 5 years, Peter Waters’ musical life has been devoted exclusively to the pursuit of composing new works for associations, the private sector, and friends and acquaintances. Living in both Sardinia and Switzerland as he has since 2004, the art of composing, which was always part of his life, has taken full priority, uniting the two homes, as the compositions develop, live and breathe in both places.

Melodies float in differently on his beloved wind of southern Sardinia than they do over Säntis, while the full immersion in the Mediterranean evokes melodies long forgotten and returning from his long and colourful classical and jazz career in Switzerland. The discipline of writing takes place in both countries with the same dedication and passion.
The compositions, usually for piano solo, are tailored to the personal wishes of the customer, so each piece has its own unique voice. Each work is completely different.



Contact can be made with Peter Waters via Email  or via sms.


+39 340 4186242


Prices range from Sfr.3,000 upwards, 3,000 being the norm for a moderately sized piece of about 10 to 14 minutes. The concert cachet for its performance will be defined individually by appointment.



Ravel, Jazz and Beauty



The principal motivating force in Maurice Ravel’s timeless music and in his whole life was, as in that of his greatest influence W.A.Mozart, his belief in Beauty.

Beauty of sound, beauty of vision.

Clicking on this link, Peter Waters plays Ravel, slow movement in E from the Concerto in G, based, in Ravel’s own words, on the crystal clarity of Mozart and his love of jazz (Gershwin).

This same love of Beauty drove the great masters of piano jazz, notably Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson and Herbie Hancock, but also many others throughout the history of jazz, to reap their inspiration from the luscious sounds and chord voicings of Debussy (Feuilles mortes) and Ravel.

As you will see over this link, “Ondine” from Ravel’s “Gaspard de la Nuit” is like a lesson in jazz harmony and beauty.

Listen to Maurice Ravel inside Bill Evans‘ magic voicings. Miles Davis describes how Bill Evans turned him on to Ravel in countless late-night listenings, and Miles remained hooked.

When we listen to the “Forlane” or Valse Noble *2 of Ravel we can be excused for thinking we are hearing a Bill Evans arrangement.

„Ravel and Jazz“ lies at the centre of Peter Waters‘ musical development as a composer and Maurice Ravel, along with Schubert and Mozart, remains the strongest inspiration of his whole pianistic life.







  • born in Broken Hill N.S.W. Australia in 1953, piano studies at the Elder Conserva-torium Adelaide and Royal College of Music London
  • Advanced Certificate of the Royal College of Music, prizes for Chamber Music and the Australian Musical Association Prize in London.
  • Much acclaim for Hindemith performance in duo with Gundula Janowitz at the Salzburg Festival 1981, leading to both duo and solo recitals in Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Lyon, Rome, Stockholm, Cologne, Frankfurt, Münich, London and Zürich.
  • Soloist with the Philharmonica Ungarica in the Bach D minor concerto, “300 years Bach”, Bach Festival Schaffhausen 1985
  • first-ever classical recital at a major Rock Festival : Open Air St. Gallen 1987. Was awarded the St.Gallen cultural prize for his compositional projects combining new music with improvisation.
  • 1990-2000 : the flowering of his career; frequent visits as soloist to his home country Australia (Barossa Valley Festival, Adelaide Festival, Huntington Festival, soloist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra with the music of John Adams and the Australian Chamber Orchestra with Mozart)
  • Winner of the coveted ABC FM Prize for the best classical CD in the year 2000 (“Gates Beyond” with music of John Adams, Ravel and Satie, Tall Poppies TP 108)
    Musical Director of “Mozart and Modern”, Switzerland meets St. Petersburg. Mozart concerti as soloist with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra and the St.Petersburg Staatsorchester
  • Huge acclaim in the whole of Europe for his performances of Reimann, Schnittke and Khachaturian Concerti with various orchestras.
    Tour of Europe with his beloved Ravel Piano Concerto in G and the Mozart Piano Concerti. to very positive resonance among public and press.
  • As piano soloist with Collegium Novum Zürich, collaborations with Arvo Pärt, Maurizio Kagel, Heinz Holliger, George Crumb and Aribert Reimann to name but a few.
  • Intensive festival participation in Europe: Lucerne Festival, “Time in Jazz” in Berchidda, Mozart Festival Würzburg, Music Festival Davos, Swiss Chamber Soloists (with Jürg Dähler), Expo Hannover, North Sea Jazz Festival, “Festival d’Auvers” where he recorded his first Mozart/Ravel CD, “Soundways” St. Petersburg, “Alpentöne” Altdorf (with his 80-minute composition “Songlines”) , Istanbul Jazz Festival etc.
  • Professor in Jazz Piano and Improvisation at the Conservatorio Pierluigi Da Palestrina in Cagliari, Sardinia, from 2004 till 2009
  • Workshops in free improvisation (“spontaneous composition”) at said institution culminating in his present “Music in a Zen garden” with sesshins of open improvisation.
  • Formed the Cagliari Composers Collective to encourage composers in the Sardinian capital.
  • In Switzerland from 1995 to the present day has worked in the collective fields of Improvisation and Jazz with Pierre Favre, Paolo Fresu and the Treya Quartet
  • intensive collaboration in projects with the 2 exceptional Swiss soloists Daniel Pezzotti (cello) and Michael Neff (trumpet), as well as performing with Lucas Niggli, Paul Giger, Barbara Balzan, Attilio Zanchi, Heinz Lieb, “Surfing Penguins” with Dominique Girod and Nathalie Maerten, Sandy Patton, Jörg Schneider, Ensemble Zero, Fred Frith, Sarah Abrigada, Sylvie Courvoisier, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Franco Ambrosetti, Burhan Ocal, Matthias Ziegler, and Natasha Waters.
  • Tremendous success with Alfons Karl Zwicker’s “Monogramme”, alternating with solo Bach on the highly prestigious CD for Creative Works Records, CW 1052.
  • Highlight of his composing career to date was his arrangement of the Fauré Requiem for Chorproject St. Gallen (Director and Project initiator Peter Roth) and 5 jazz soloists (Peter Waters piano, Dominique Girod double bass, Michael Neff trumpet, Daniel Pezzotti violoncello and Tony Renold drums and percussion).
  • Intensive musical collaborations in Cagliari, the City of Jazz, with Marcello Carro and Roberto Migoni (Cagliari Composers Collective), Massimo Tore, Simona Bandino, Massimo Ferra, Flavio Secchi, Manuela Mameli, Gianluca Tommasi, Fabio Carta, Mauro Medda, Roberto Pellegrini, Adele Grandulli, Federica Cabras, Sanchez, Heaven’s Angels, Roberto Boi, Gianfranco Fedele, Paolo Fresu, Mario Massa, Young Funk, Andrea Granitzio, Chiara Figus, Andrea Loi, Andrea Lai, Julia Ensemble, Matteo Ledda, Arenara etc.
  • In terms of live musical activity in Cagliari, much of his focus has been devoted to the Peter Waters Ballads Trio, with Gianrico Manca (drums) and Filippo Mundula (bass), dedicated solely to the performance of ballads from the standard repertoire and the current day, and to the collective development of original compositions of all 3 musicians. A trio which can often be heard and enjoyed in the leading jazz venues in Cagliari.


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“Adams, Reimann and T’ai Chi”




In my interpretation of the huge musical structures such as Bach Goldberg Variations, Aribert Reimann Concerto no.2 for Piano and 19 soloists or my very favourite „Phrygian Gates“ of John Adams, my life-long practice of T’ai Chi was the most indispensable ingredient in my vision of the work as a whole.

„Ich muss sagen, Peter Waters ist die beste Interpretation dieses Stückes gelungen, die ich je erlebt habe“. („I must say, with Peter Waters I heard the best interpretation of my Second Concerto that I have ever heard“). Aribert Reimann, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Reimann’s ambitious work, a brilliant and virtually unplayable cascade of sounds, exacts from the performer all the concentration and energy possible and all the technique impossible.

With the effortlessness of T’ai Chi practice I was able to enjoy it much as a leisurely forest walk, an invitation to the dance, a river of impressions.

The centered T’ai Chi focus on deep, but easy and natural, breathing is the essence that allows us to merge with all musical works as a whole, be it in its grand architecture (as in Brahms or Mozart Concerti) or in the Spirit of the Song (Schubert, Fauré).

In this state of profound awareness, all technical considerations are of secondary importance, as the piano practice has already been achieved; we trust it, and we can immerse ourselves in the music in the moment, as in the sea.

„Peter Waters‘ performance of my Phrygian Gates are among the finest I’ve encountered anywhere. His technical abilities are always at the service of a deep command of the music’s architecture, making his performance a real interpretation rather than a mere reading. He can deliver the big moments with unflagging power, but no less impressive is his sense of delicacy and tonal shading. I was tremendously excited to encounter this interpretation and I look forward to hearing Peter Waters perform other music of our time“. (John Adams, San Francisco)

Here is my youtube-video of John Adams “Phrygian Gates”.

The Essence of T’ai Chi is the Lightness. In my life, only the healing energy of water (T’ai chi) can play all these millions of notes effortlessly. The „Secret of the Golden Flower“ captures the ease and delight and the miraculous essence of T’ai Chi.

precious, simple and profound :

„Do not grasp the Inbreath…
just let it drop in, gently…
Do not chase the Outbreath…
let it go of its own accord…
as it simply dissolves.“


Compositions on video


Winter Song

After the Fugue (views of Cagliari)

prima parte, a Fantasy (interspersed with episodes of Villa-Lobos “Aria Cantiga” and Ravel “une barque sur l’ocean”)

Kiss of Life, first movement

Elena (at Palazzo Siotto)

spontaneous composition


Walking Tall


Cagliari Composers Collective: interviste in italiano


interview no. 1

interview no. 2

management: Francesca Balia