Fonds GB 0210 PTREYN - Peter Reynolds Papers,

Identity area

Reference code



Peter Reynolds Papers,


  • 1965-2016 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.95 m3 (21 large boxes, 35 small boxes.)

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Peter John Reynolds (1958-2016) was a Cardiff born composer, writer, critic and teacher.
He was born on 12th January 1958 to John and Dorothy Reynold. He attended St Teilo’s Church in Wales High School, Llanedeyrn, Cardiff (1969-1975), and the Bishop of Llandaff High School, Llandaff (1975-1977), before gaining B Mus (Hons), 1980 and M.A (Analysis of Contemporary Music), 1983 from University of Wales, Cardiff. His musical compositions have been performed throughout the UK, Europe and the USA, broadcast on BBC Radio 3, BBC Wales and BBC Television.
During the 1980s he received several bursaries to attend the Dartington Summer School where he attended composition classes by Morton Feldman, Peter Maxwell Davies and Gordon Crosse (1986-1987). He was awarded the Michael Tippett Award for Composition in 1986. His first large-scale commission, a work for chamber orchestra, was completed for the Dartington Summer School, 1987.
He joined the academic staff of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff in 1994, later a tutor of composition in 2002. He ran compositions workshops in combination with several ensembles, for school children and students in higher education. He was composer-in-residence with the Young Composer of Dyfed, 2010-2013, returning to this role in September 2016.
The music of Peter Reynolds has been performed at venues and festivals including Bangor New Music Festival, Brighton Festival; Brangwyn Hall, Swansea; Chapter, Cardiff; Cheltenham Town Hall; Dartington International Summer School; Go West Festival; Lincoln Cathedral; Late Music Festival, York; Lower Machen Festival; Purcell Room (Southbank Centre), St David’s Hall, Cardiff; Symphony Hall (Birmingham); Vale of Glamorgan Festival; Wales Millennium Centre; Waterford New Music Week, Ireland; and Welsh Week (Brussels).
In 1993 Peter Reynolds and Simon Rees (librettist) collaborated on "The Sands of Time", recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as a world record for the world's shortest opera at 4 minutes and 9 seconds.
In addition to his work as a composer Peter was prominent in the promotion of contemporary music in South Wales and beyond. In 1987 he co-founded Ixion new music ensemble. He was Artistic Director of both the Cardiff-based PM Music Ensemble, which he formed in 1990, and the Lower Machen Festival (1997-2009). He also wrote and published a history of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in 2009.
Peter Reynolds produced programme notes, specialising in contemporary music. He also received commissions for his copywriting and journalistic reviews by some of Britain’s leading concert halls, orchestras, festivals and periodicals. (Full details can be found at
Peter Reynolds passed away suddenly at his home in Cardiff on 11 October 2016.

Archival history

Papers were kept at the home of Peter Reynolds and were sorted and arranged by his executors prior to their deposit at the Library.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer: Bequest of Peter Reynolds. Donations March 2017 and February (An envelope of printed family papers, obituaries and biographical information with a memory stick containing copy of the same) and March 2018 (one memory stick containing work files taken from his laptop), October 2018 (photographs, certificates and personalia).

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Papers created and compiled by Peter Reynolds in his work as a composer of musical works, a writer and critic, and his lecture notes. Musical compositions include full orchestral scores, parts works, arrangements, draft works and sketches. Research papers and notes covering musical compositions, composers and artists, accumulated during his research for the writing of programme notes and his copywriting. Some of these files contain historical items collected for reference. Subject files and a large collection of concert and event literature. Teaching notes for lectures at WCMD and his composers workshops.
Two boxes of audio material have been transferred to The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

All records have been retained except for duplicates which were removed, some personal letters which have been returned to the executors or destroyed and the electronic material which was found to be duplication of other materials and destroyed.


Accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Arranged into the following groups: Business and administrative papers; Compositions and arrangements, Copywriting, music journalism and reviews; Personal papers; Teaching notes.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to sign the 'Modern papers - data protection' form.

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright laws apply.

Language of material

  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Welsh

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Finding aids

Catalogue available online.

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Notes area

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Alma system control number


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Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion




Accession area