Welcome to the website for information on Peter Hazzard’s compositions and conducting career, as well as his career as a music educator. Please enjoy the site and feel free to contact Mr. Hazzard if you have questions or would like more information. Information on Mr. Hazzard's published works may be found at BKJ Publications.
Peter P. Hazzard was born in Poughkeepsie, NY on January 31, 1949. He wrote his first compositions, The Horses' Hooves, and Evening Song, for violin and piano at the age of eight. He played violin studying in New York with Arlie Furman, and was a member of the New York Young People’s Orchestra. He also played guitar, and piano in both orchestras and dance bands throughout his youth. After graduation from Millbrook School and two years of study at Boston University, Mr. Hazzard entered the Berklee College of Music in 1968, receiving his Bachelor of Music in Composition in 1971. He studied composition with John Bavicchi and William Maloof and conducting with Jeronimus Kascinskas.
Since finishing school, Mr. Hazzard has divided his time between composing, conducting, and teaching. Upon graduation, he was appointed to the faculty of Berklee College of Music where he taught composition, conducting, and music history and was the Chair of the Traditional Studies Department until 1983. He also conducted the Berklee Concert Wind Ensemble from 1976 to 1983. In the summer of 1983, Mr. Hazzard was appointed to the faculty of Lawrence Academy in Groton, MA where he served as Music Director and then Choral Director. In 1986 he founded the school’s a cappella group SLACS, and directed them until 2008. He was also musical director and vocal coach for the annual spring musical for more than twenty-two years. Mr. Hazzard retired from Lawrence Academy in 2012 and moved to the Charlotte, NC area so that his wife could accept a "dream" teaching position. In August of 2013 he resumed his teaching career becoming a substitute band and choral director in the Cabarrus County (NC) public schools. When his wife retired from teaching in early 2016, the Hazzard's returned to New England and in June Mr Hazzard was appointed to the faculty of the Granite State Arts Academy where he teaches and runs the music program. Mr. Hazzard is a member of ASCAP.
Mr. Hazzard was conductor of the Melrose Symphony Orchestra (the oldest continuing civic orchestra in the U.S.) from 1983 to 1997. He has served as guest conductor with many orchestras, choral groups, and concert bands and has also written for these ensembles with great success.
Over the last 48 years he has built up a diverse catalog of more than eighty works. He is a composer who understands his performers and their scope, ranging from student musicians to virtuoso professionals. He has written for symphony orchestra, concert band, piano duet, unaccompanied clarinet, clarinet and marimba, saxophone quartet, chorus, and percussion ensembles to mention but a few. Mr. Hazzard is able to challenge the players and the audience without leaving either behind.
Mr. Hazzard has been commissioned by The Spirit of Cox Mill Symphonic Band (Concord, NC), Full House of Peabody (MA) High School, The Callanwolde Concert Band of Atlanta (GA), The Metropolitan Wind Symphony of Boston, The Concord (MA) Band, Concord-Carlisle (MA) Regional High School, Barbara and Gerhardt Suhrstedt, Jacksonville (AL) State University, The Philharmonic Society of Arlington (MA) Orchestra and Chorus, and Souhegan High School (NH) among others. In 2009 Mr. Hazzard served as choral conductor for the NH Music Educators Association middle school choral festival and and as part of the program, he conducted the premiere of his choral work We Celebrate New Hampshire, Op. 76 with text written by New Hampshire Governor John Lynch. One recent commission Spirit of the Spirit, Op. 78 was performed by the Spirit of Cox Mill Symphonic Band in November of 2013 at the NCMEA conference in Winston-Salem, NC, under the direction of Joseph Earp. Mr. Hazzard's latest work for band, a March entitled Three Cheers, Thirty, Op. 80 was premiered in March of 2013 in Atlanta, GA with the composer conducting the Callanwolde Concert Band. The march was composed to honor the band's conductor, Raymond Handfield on the occasion of his 30th season as conductor.
In a review of Mr. Hazzard's work for band, A Festival Overture, Op.40, Ernest R. Spinney said, "....although modern, it is real music...its dissonance being treated as dissonance, not as a weapon to assault one's ears. As a composer, Mr. Hazzard is a solid musician with respect for his art and not disrespectful of his hearers."
Many of Mr. Hazzard's compositions are published by Ludwig Music Publishing Co., Inc., Cleveland, OH; BKJ Publications, NC; and Seesaw Music Company c/o Subito Music Corp. Verona, NJ.