29 Sep 2017
Creative New Zealand mourns the passing of renowned musician and conductor Peter Godfrey.
Born in England, Peter Godfrey was educated at King's College in Cambridge and was a chorister and choral scholar in the choir. In 1958, he came to New Zealand to take up the position of Lecturer in Music at Auckland University, which he held from 1958-1973, later becoming Professor of Music (1974-1982).
Alongside his university career, Peter was also Director of Music for Auckland Cathedral of St Mary’s and Holy Trinity (1958-1974); Conductor of the Auckland String Players (1959- 1968); founder of the Symphonia of Auckland and Director of groups such as the Dorian Choir (1961-83), Auckland University Singers (1970-82), and the Auckland University Choral Society (1968-82). These groups toured internationally and won prestigious overseas competitions.
Peter became Conductor and Director of Music for the National Youth Choir (1982-88), Director of Music at St Paul's Cathedral in Wellington (1983-89), and Director of the Orpheus Choir (1984-91). One of his many accomplishments was to found the New Zealand Choral Federation in 1985.
Peter was also very involved in community choirs. From 1992 he was Director of the Kapiti Chamber Choir and of the 100-member Kapiti Chorale. He was also conductor and organist at St Michael’s Church, Waikanae.
In recognition of his contribution to music, Peter received an MBE in 1978, a CBE in 1988 and Professor Emeritus at Auckland University in 1982. He was also made an Arts Foundation Icon in 2005.