Peter Dasent : Associate Artist
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Artist website: http://www.peterdasent.com
Peter Dasent is a composer, songwriter, pianist and music arranger/director. He has composed music for film and television (including three early Peter Jackson films), led his own ensemble The Umbrellas for 30 years, written songs for kids (Justine Clarke's platinum-selling children's albums) and has played piano for the long-running ABC-TV children's show PlaySchool since 2000.
Dasent was born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1954 and learned piano from age 8, discovering the Beatles and other classic sixties pop groups and the music of his father's collection of jazz 78s along the way.
In the 1970s he studied music briefly at Victoria University of Wellington and was a founder member of the bands Spats (1977-79) and The Crocodiles (1980). Two other members of these bands, Tony Backhouse and Fane Flaws, were to become long-time friends and musical collaborators, along with lyricist Arthur Baysting.
In 1981 Dasent moved to Sydney, where he studied for the Associate Diploma in Jazz Studies at the NSW Conservatorium of Music. Encouraged by then course director Don Burrows, Peter formed The Umbrellas in 1985. The band released three albums between 1986 and 1991, and from 1992-2002 toured for the Musica Viva In Schools program, performing throughout NSW and on tours to Fiji and Singapore.
He began his screen composition career in 1989 with Peter Jackson's second film, the Muppets send-up splatter epic Meet The Feebles. He subsequently scored two more Peter Jackson films, Braindead (aka Dead Alive outside Australasia) and the Oscar-nominated Heavenly Creatures.
During the 1990s Peter Dasent was in demand as a composer for television, concentrating mainly on documentaries and children's drama.
His involvement in children's music began in 2000 with The Underwatermelon Man, a book of absurd poems by Fane Flaws and Arthur Baysting, illustrated by Fane, and set to music by Fane and Peter for an accompanying CD. Singers included Neil and Tim Finn, Renee Geyer, Don McGlashan, Bic Runga, Dave Dobbyn and Jenny Morris.
In 2000 he was asked to fill in as pianist on ABC-TV's PlaySchool, and he has been the regular PlaySchool pianist ever since, writing numerous original songs and producing 3 CDs. In 2005 he produced the first of PlaySchool presenter Justine Clarke's 3 best selling CDs I Like To Sing, and a fourth album, tentatively titled Sleepy Time Songs, will be released later in 2015. Nearly all the songs on these albums were written by Peter Dasent with Arthur Baysting.
In 2013 Dasent recorded a CD of original music for solo piano at the legendary Abbey Road Studio in London. Songs For Solo Piano is scheduled for release in July 2015.
Biography provided by the composer