Peter Erskine began playing the drums at the age of four, and has now been at the forefront of world-class jazz ensembles for nearly thirty years. His first major professional work was with the Stan Kenton Orchestra, which he joined in 1972. After a three year stint with Kenton and a two year stay with Maynard Ferguson, he joined Weather Report in 1978. The excellence of the partnership between Erskine and bassist Jaco Pastorius was an integral part of that group's success.
Following his 4 years in Weather Report (having recorded five albums with them including the Grammy Award winning "8:30"), he began to play with Mike Brecker , Mike Mainieri and Eddie Gomez in the group Steps Ahead . His other touring and recording credits (300 albums) include Steely Dan , Chick Corea , Joe Henderson , Freddie Hubbard , Gary Burton & Pat Metheny , Joni Mitchell , Ralph Towner , Sadao Watanabe , Hubert Laws , Eliane Elias , Miroslav Vitous and Jan Garbarek ; music ensembles such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra , The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra , The London Symphony Orchestra , Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Ensemble , Ensemble Modern , the ASKO and Avanti Ensembles ; "Bass Desires " (with John Scofield, Bill Frisell, and Marc Johnson), the John Abercrombie Trio , the Kenny Wheeler Quintet & Big Band , the Bob Mintzer Big Band , the Yellowjackets as well as his own groups.
Peter has recorded twelve solo albums: "Peter Erskine", "Transition", "Motion Poet", "Sweet Soul", "Big Theatre", and his ECM recordings You Never Know, "Time Being", "As It Is" and "Juni" as well as "History of the DRUM". and "Behind Closed Doors" on his own label FUZZY MUSIC.. His latest playing ventures include The Lounge Art Ensemble (that group's latest CD is titled "Lava Jazz" and a piano trio with Alan Pasqua and Dave Carpenter; their double CD "Peter Erskine & Alan Pasqua with David Carpenter - Live at Rocco" has gotten rave reviews from the press and fans.
Besides touring and recording, Peter is now pursuing new avenues in his career by composing for dance, theatre and animation. He has completed musical scores for Shakespeare's King Richard II and A Midsummer Night's Dream, the latter being honored by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle with the award for the "Best Original Musical Score 1987." His music for The American Conservatory Theatre's production of Twelfth Night was awarded by the Bay Area Drama Critics' Circle as the "Best Dra matic Score for 1989." His most recent works for this medium are Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, the dance piece "History of the Drum" (written for the Kokuma Dance Company of Birmingham, England), and "The Yield of the Long Bond" for LA's "Matrix Theatre". He has scored animation productions for the USA, Malaysia and Japan and he is now the composer of music for the Simon & Schuster books-on-audio series "Alien Voices", starring Leonard Nimoy and John deLancie of Star Trek fame.
Erskine is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, and studied percussion with George Gaber at Indiana University. His own pedagogical efforts include 3 instructional videos, a performance video titled "Peter Erskine Trio / Live at JazzBaltica" (Hal Leonard Corp.) as well as 2 drum instruction books, the most recent book titled "The Drum Perspective", also to be published by the Hal Leonard Corp. A collection of Peter's compositions has just been published in France for world-wide distribution, titled "My Book". Peter conducts clinics, classes and seminars world-wide. He has won the Modern Drummer Magazine Readers' Poll in the Mainstream Jazz Drummer category 5 times, and was awarded an honorary Doctorate degree from the Berklee College of Music. Peter was the soloist, along with Evelyn Glennie, at the world premiere of a new Double Concerto for Percussion composed by Mark-Anthony Turnage, which was premiered in London at the Proms this July with Sir Andrew Davis conducting.
Peter is 46 years old, and makes his home in Southern California with his wife Mutsuko and their two
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