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Peter Schaefer : Represented Artist

The pervading theme of everything I do, is seeking the expression of wholistic spirituality...

Random Audio Sample: expans V : chamber ensemble by Peter Schaefer, from the CD Peter Schaefer Ensemble.

Photo of Peter Schaefer


Artist website: http://www.purusa.net

Purusa/Peter Schaefer is an Australian sitarist/composer/artist with dual East/West training in the traditions of such teachers as Indian sarode master the Ali Akbar Khan and composer Peter Sculthorpe, together with studies in Western and Chinese visual art. His music has been performed, recorded and broadcast in Australia and overseas both by his own ensembles and such classical performers as the Seymour Group; Petra, Gagliano and Elektra String Quartets; and state symphony orchestras.

Born in Sydney and studying Western instruments and music theory from an early age, he later studied composition with Peter Sculthorpe at the University of Sydney (where he was first exposed to the breadth of world music, particularly that of India, by visiting teachers such as rudra veena master Asad Ali Khan and carnatic violinist professor T.N. Krishnan); completing Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music (honours) and teaching degrees, and later a Doctorate in Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong.

He has also pursued ongoing study of visual art, focusing on a fusion of Western art styles and Chinese brush painting techniques, using the same collage/open-form approach which is the basis of his music composition.

All of his sitar study has been within the Maihar gharana, founded by Allauddin Khan (guru of Ali Akbar Khan and Ravi Shankar); including such teachers as Alan Posselt (student of Allauddin Khan and Radhka Moitra) and Ashok Roy (Ali Akbar sarode disciple) in Australia; Krishna Chakravarty (Ravi Shankar disciple) in India; Ali Akbar Khan in America; and, most recently, with Dr Chandrakant Sardeshmukh (Ravi Shankar disciple). As sitar soloist he has performed in Australia, India and America, absorbing to date a core repertoire of several hundred ragas.

In addition to continuing with mainstream classical/new music composition, he has developed performance pieces fusing diverse elements (Indian/Western; composed/improvised; acoustic/electronic) within an evolving conception of sitar performance combining traditional Indian forms, diverse world music traditions (such as jazz, African, East Asian and Australian Aboriginal musics), and modular modal/harmonic structures (for which he has coined the term "haraga").

Accordingly he has performed with various ensemble lineups including Indian, East Asian and Aboriginal performers, and musicians from Western classical and jazz backgrounds. He is presently engaged with a further fusion of these elements in ongoing recording/performace projects bringing together his three main creative preoccupations: performance, composition and visual art.

Peter Schaefer — current to April 2017

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
spans : chamber ensemble (1989) Commissined by 2MBS FM, Sydney