Dr Peter Giles, countertenor, voice-production consultant and director, is an internationally known authority on the countertenor and the pre-1840 male high voice (www.drpetergiles.com).
He was a boy chorister in London, where he studied piano and organ with Leslie Pearson, and for a time singing with Alfred Heath. This was followed by a number of years’ intensive work on singing and vocal production with the countertenor John Whitworth.
After semi-professional singing experience in London, Giles was appointed successively a lay-clerk in Ely Cathedral choir, a lay-vicar choral in Lichfield Cathedral and finally a lay-clerk at Canterbury Cathedral, where eventually he became Senior Lay-Clerk. He has sung as a soloist throughout the United Kingdom and abroad, particularly in oratorio and similar concert works, recitals, early-music performance and festivals. He has appeared on radio and television as a lecturer and solo singer here and abroad, especially in the United States and Canada. He was seen in Tony Robinson’s TV series The Worst Jobs in History, talking about the castrati. He has also performed extensively with the male-voice trio Canterbury Clerkes, with whom he made several recordings. He has been organist and choirmaster at a number of parish churches and directed other choirs and ensembles from time to time. He founded Quodlibet in 2000.
Peter Giles teaches privately and occasionally gives seminars on the countertenor and general master classes. He runs customised voice-care workshops and staff training days for schools, companies and churches; and lectures freelance to singing teachers.
He is Registrar of the Ernest George White Society (EGWS), and a Registered Teacher of White’s Technique, the unique vocal training method devised by White. He was Course Advisor for the EGWS online course BetterVoice, which teaches the basics of the Technique (www.bettervoice.co.uk).
He has written the four standard full-length works of reference on the countertenor voice, and writes articles on the voice, reviews and CD booklets. A published composer, editor and arranger of vocal music, he wrote the article ‘Countertenor’ and rewrote that of ‘Falsetto’ for the 2000 edition of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.
He is a passionate supporter of the teaching of good singing to schoolchildren, and in particular the training of boys in cathedral choirs. To support the latter, he co-founded the Campaign for the Traditional Cathedral Choir (www.ctcc.org.uk).