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Peter Leech  B.A. B.Mus. Grad.Dip.Mus.(Conducting). Ph.D

Dr Peter Leech B.A. B.Mus. Grad.Dip.Mus.(Conducting). Ph.D



I am a professional choral and orchestral conductor (First Prize winner at the 2003 Mariele Ventre International Competition for Choral Conductors), lecturer, musicologist, composer, singer and keyboard player.

I studied conducting with Graham Abbott,

Heribert Esser

Robert Rosen (Opera Australia)

and David Porcelijn

I am a specialist in English court instrumental and vocal music (1600-1750), music in the British Jesuit and broader European Catholic diaspora (1600-1800) and European sacred music (1550-1800) as well as sacred music in Rome associated with the court of Cardinal Henry Benedict Stuart (1725-1807) and sacred music at the Imperial Russian court from c.1700-1900.

I have published substantial articles and reviews in Early Music (OUP), Music & Letters (OUP), The Consort (Dolmetsch Foundation), Eighteenth-century music (CUP), Tijdschrift van de Koninklijke Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis (KVNM), Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu (IHSI, Rome), Journal of Jesuit Studies (Brill) and the Newsletter of the Society For Eighteenth-Century Music (USA).

As a conductor I have recorded for the Nimbus Alliance, Tall Poppies and Toccata Classics labels. I am conductor of the Cardiff University Chamber Choir, as well as Cappella Fede, Harmonia Sacra and Costanzi Consort. With Harmonia Sacra I have released CDs of historical choral music, one of which - Cherubim & Seraphim - includes music from the court of Catherine the Great through to to Nicholas II, and another - Princely Splendour - which features music by the greatly neglected Roman composers Sebastiano Bolis, Giovanni Battista Costanzi, maestri to Cardinal Henry Stuart.

With Cappella Fede I released a ground-breaking new CD in 2016, The Cardinal King (featuring first recordings of rediscovered eighteenth-century Roman sacred music by Sebastiano Bolis, Giovanni Battista Costanzi and others), to widespread critical acclaim. BBC Radio 3 Record Review (January 2017) described it as 'a moving disc' with 'consort singing second to none' (Elin Manahan-Thomas and Andrew McGregor). My future projects will include a detailed study of eighteenth-century sacred music at San Lorenzo in Damaso (Rome), further research on British seventeenth and early eighteenth-century Jesuit musicians and a cultural biography of Cardinal Henry Benedict Stuart (1725-1807).

Harmonia Sacra released a new CD in 2017 - Lux memoriaque - featuring first recordings of music by British Composers, including several of my latest choral compositions.

On 20 July 2018 my choral setting of Adam lay ybounden was premiered at St Paul's, Knightsbridge, London, by the BBC Singers conducted by Peter Foggitt.

In June and July 2019 I conducted Cardiff University Chamber Choir on their tour to China, performing a wide range of repertoire in concerts in Xi'an, Xiamen, Guangzhou and Beijing

In October 2019 my professional ensemble Cappella Fede performed at San Giorgio in Velabro, Rome, in a special concert as part of the Canonisation of St John Henry Newman, for which my choral work Duc, alma lux was also composed

In 2019 my choir Harmonia Sacra released a new CD - In dulci jubilo - featuring new choral music for Advent and Christmas by living composers, which was rated by the December 2019 issue of BBC Music Magazine as one of the Top 10 Christmas albums for that year.

In 2020 my chaper on post-Reformation Catholic music associated with St Thomas Becket was published in Memory, Martyrs and Mission (ed.Maurice Whitehead), by Gangemi Editore, Rome.

In the summer of 2023 I conducted Cardiff University Chamber Choir on a tour of Malaysia, performing at Xiamen University Malaysia, Sunway University, UCSI University and at Christ Church Melaka. Cardiff University Chamber Choir at UCSI Malaysia 2023 - YouTube























Book sections



My core research has dealt with vocal and instrumental music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with specific areas including music and musicians in the British Royal Catholic chapels 1660-1714, music and musicians in the British Jesuit diaspora 1580-1773, late 17th century instrumental and vocal music in England, 18th century choral and instrumental music in Rome associated with the court and household of Cardinal Henry Benedict Stuart (1725-1807) and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Russian Orthodox choral music.

Select recent specific research topics (many yielding publications and recordings) have included:

- Vocal and instrumental music associated with the court of Queen Catherine of Braganza

- Vocal and instrumental music associated with the court of King James II, in England and in exile at Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

- Sacred music in Rome composed and perfomed by hitherto forgotten composers Sebastiano Bolis (c.1750-1804), Giovanni Battista Costanzi (1704-1778) and others for the churches and chapels under the direct auspices of Cardinal Henry Benedict Stuart.

- Music associated with the British and Irish Jesuit diaspora, including the rediscovery of instrumental and vocal works with definitive Jesuit provenance.

- The sacred music of Maria Rosa Coccia (1759-1833)

- Women composers in sacred music post-1700


I teach at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels, taking first year classes in Repertoire Studies, second year classes in Performance Practice and Organology (The Long Eighteenth Century c.1700-c.1830), third year classes in Performance Practice and Organology (The Long Seventeenth Century c.1550-c.1700), as well as the supervision of Masters students undertaking the dissertation component of the MA course.

My Year 2 and Year 3 Performance Practice classes cover important musical treatises published from c.1550 through to the early nineteenth century, with many specific case studies dealing with aspects of musical ornamentation, expression, source studies, interpretation and understanding original music prints and manuscripts and critical thinking. 

Where possible I incorporate as many aspects of the academic curriculum as possible into my performing activity with Cardiff University Chamber Choir (since 2016) and the Baroque Ensemble (since 2021).

I have also been involved with Advanced Performance Forum (to 2020), Performance Classes (to the present) and seminar aspects of the taught MA courses.

In 2018 and 2019 my Masters Dissertation students (working on C17 solo violin music of Giuseppe Colombi, and the tragedie lyrique of Andre Campra, respectively) achieved high distinctions and were recommended for continuing their research at PhD level.

Since 2018 three of my former undergraduate students have gone on from Cardiff University to achieve high distinctions in MA studies at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.


I have held the following posts as Musical Director (MD) or Guest Musical Director (GMD)

Costanzi Consort (2017-present) MD

City of Bath Bach Choir (2016) GMD

Cardiff University Chamber Choir (2016-present) MD

St Catharijne Cantorei, Brielle (2015-present) GMD

Coro di Teatro Comunale, Bologna (2010) GMD

Harmonia Sacra (2009-present), MD

Cappella Fede (2008-present), MD

Aylesbury Choral Society (2004-2014) MD

Eszterhazy Chamber Choir and Orchestra (2002) GMD

Coro Euridice, Bologna (2005 and 2010), GMD

Bristol Philharmonic Orchestra (2005) GMD

Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus (2002-3) GMD

City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong (2002) GMD

Chandos Chamber Choir, London (2002-2004) MD

Frideswide Ensemble of Oxford (1999-2009) GMD

Bristol Bach Choir (1999-2008) MD

City of Oxford Choir (1998-2005) MD

Cathedral Singers of Christ Church, Oxford (1997-1999) MD

The Song Company (1996) GMD

Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (1994) GMD

The Tudor Choristers, Melbourne (1994-95) MD

St Peter's Cathedral, Adelaide (1994-1995) MD

Adelaide University Choral Society (1994-1995) MD

New Holland Baroque Chamber Orchestra (1993-1995) MD

The Handel Bande, Melbourne (1992) MD

Ensemble Eszterhaza, Melbourne (1990-1995) MD

Libra Contemporary Ensemble (1991-1993) MD

Melbourne Conservatorium of Music Symphony Orchestra (1991) GMD

Melbourne Youth Orchestra (1991-1992) GMD

Percy Grainger Youth Orchestra (1991) Assistant MD

Geminiani Chamber Orchestra (1991) GMD

Australian Girls Choir (1988-89) MD

Adelaide University Chamber Orchestra (1988) GMD

Flinders University Choral Society (1986) MD

Academic positions

  • Honorary Research Fellow, School of Arts & Humanities, Swansea University (2008-14)
  • Tutor at City Literary Institute, London (2000-02)
  • Lecturer in Musicology at Colchester Institute (1996-99)


Since 2016 I have supervised several MA student dissertations, with topics ranging from French baroque opera through to late-seventeenth-century Italian instrumental music.

In 2022 I commenced supervision of a PhD undertaken by the professional recorder player James Brookmyre, which will focus intensively upon the instrumental music of the Stuart Court-in-Exile at Saint-Germain-en-Laye from 1688-1718.