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Pedro Carneiro, Percussionist-conductor-composer

Chief Conductor/Artistic Director: Portuguese Chamber Orchestra
Artistic Director: Bang Crash Splash! Percussion Marathon, Lisbon


Pedro Carneiro is one of the very few percussion players to have made an international career as a soloist, and has established himself as one of the world's foremost solo percussionists, performing regularly throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

Now at the age of 34, Carneiro has commissioned and performed the world première of over 100 works by leading composers worldwide and appears regularly with a wide range of acclaimed musicians, including the Arditti and Tokyo Quartets, Christian Lindberg and Steve Reich.

Pedro Carneiro took up the piano at the age of five, later studying the cello. At the Conservatório Nacional in Lisbon he studied the trumpet with his father, José Augusto Carneiro, until he fell in love with percussion at the age of 12. He moved to London with a scholarship from the Gulbenkian Foundation and studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama - percussion and conducting with David Corkhill and Alan Hazeldine, where he graduated in 1997 with the "Head of Department Award". Pedro also studied with a scholarship from the Centre Acanthes with Sylvio Gualda in 1993, later in London with the marimbist Leigh Howard Stevens and conducting in Milan with Emilio Pomárico.

Carneiro appears regularly as a soloist/director, conducting from the marimba keyboard – he is the chief conductor of the Portuguese Chamber Orchestra, the “Orchestra in Residence” at the Centro Cultural de Bélem, Lisbon. He is also the artistic director of "Bang Crash Splash! Percussion Marathon, Lisbon" - a one-day festival focusing in the promotion of classical contemporary percussion.

As an instrumentalist, Pedro is a frequent guest soloist with numerous prestigious orchestras, such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, London Mozart Players, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, working with conductors such as Petri Sakari, John Neschling, Gerard Schwarz, Gustavo Dudamel, Olari Elts, Andrew Parrott, José Ramón Encinar, John Storgards, Joseph Swensen and Marc Taddei amongst others. He performs in festivals and venues such as the BBC Proms, Rhythm Sticks Festival, Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, Sonorities Festival in Belfast, Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago, New Zealand International Festival of the Arts, La Biennale di Venezia, Schumannfest in Düsseldorf, Festival d'Ile de France, IRCAM in Paris, amongst others.

Pedro has been seen and heard on radio and television stations throughout the world and his discography includes solo recitals, chamber music and concerti. His recordings on the ECM, Zig-Zag Territoires and Rattle have received astonishing reviews worldwide.

As a guest teacher, Pedro has given masterclasses, seminars and lectures in many prestigious conservatoires, universities and music courses, such as the Royal College of Music, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Royal Northern College of Music and Trinity College of Music in the UK, Juilliard School of Music and Eastman School of Music in the United States, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, The Hague Conservatory in Holland, Tokyo College of Music and Senzoku Gakuen University in Japan, São Paulo State University in Brazil, Instrumenta Verano in Mexico and the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, to name but a few.

Carneiro has won several competitions and awards (Prémio Jovens Músicos, Prémio Maestro Silva Pereira, Park Lane Young Artists Auditions, Medal of Honor of the City of Setúbal, Distinction of the Orfeão de Leiria, an award from the Hattori Foundation in London, Distinction from the President of the Portuguese Republic on the 30th anniversary of the Carnation Revolution of 25th April 1974.

An active composer as well as an avid improviser, Carneiro has also performed, collaborated and improvised with composers and sonic artists using laptops, cutting-edge technology and live electronics, such as Paul Wilson, Ricardo Climent, Pedro Rebelo, Petra Bachratá, Pedro Amaral, João Pedro Oliveira, Paulo Raposo, Ivan Franco, André Sier, Cort Lippe, Miller Puckette, Chris Brown, Cristian Vogel, Stephan Mathieu, Ralf Wehowsky and Brandon Labelle. An avid explorer of news sounds and timbres, Carneiro is associated with several instrument makers, often performing with prototype instruments, mallets and sticks he designed.

Bio updated 21 August 2009.  Please destroy any previous or undated bios.


Marimba player Pedro Carneiro, who performed as a soloist...appeared to be a superman from another galaxy.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany)

...a masterly touch to round off Carneiro's dazzling performance.
Guardian (England)

...a formidable reading of these major works ... extremely precious for its quality of interpretation.
Le Monde (France)