The Irish conductor Peter Shannon aspires to prove to others that orchestral music can transform communities. Innovative and tireless in his outreach, Shannon embodies the new and growing role of music director. He works to reshape and re-imagine what orchestras are and how they serve their communities both musically and personally.
Shannon is the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Jackson Symphony in Jackson, Tennessee, and is beginning his sixth season with the orchestra. Having achieved incredible success at the helm of The Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra, (GA), Maestro Shannon decided that his tenth season there, (2018/19) would be his last. During his tenure with both orchestras, Shannon broadened the musical landscape stimulating unprecedented artistic and financial growth.
The son of a physician, Shannon hails from a long-line of medical professionals. Combining the performing arts with the healing arts, he has developed performance programs for cancer center patients including children receiving in-patient care and individuals in hospice care.
In collaboration with local physicians and professionals in Savannah, Shannon spearheaded projects using Music and Mindfulness, which has trained musicians to work as healers through a specially developed curriculum focusing on communicating with compassion. He has adapted Mozart’s The Magic Flute, specifically for sick children. Both of these programs have also been developed for the city of Jackson under Peter’s careful supervision. November 2019 marks the beginning of a new and original workshop in collaboration with West Tennessee Healthcare.
A strong supporter of the new music community, Shannon routinely conducts original music, such as the 2017 premier of Richard Sortomme’s violin concerto written for Elmar Oliveria. Mr Shannon has previously accepted invitations to lead the Warsaw Radio Symphony Orchestra, Irish Radio Concert Orchestra, the Irish National Symphony, the Göttingen Philharmoniker, Baden-Baden Philharmonie, Thüringen Philharmonie, Jena Philharmonie, Halle State Opera (Germany), and Rheinische Philharmonie.
He has conducted music festivals in Norway, Italy, Germany and Denmark, and during each summer of 2009 through 2011, Shannon served as the Artistic Director and Conductor of Voices of Europe, a week-long festival of concerts performed by choirs of ethnic minorities from across Europe.
Peter Shannon began his musical education as a choirboy in Cork Cathedral, Ireland. As a Bachelor of Music student at University College Dublin and a member of the RTÉ National Chamber Choir, he began studying conducting under the Irish conductor, Colman Pearce. In Germany, Shannon began postgraduate studies in Weimar at the Franz Liszt Hochschule für Musik, founded by the great pianist Franz Liszt. He earned a second postgraduate degree at the Karlsruhe Hochschule für Musik. Following in the steps of J.S. Bach who conducted the Leipzig Collegium Musicum, Shannon, at age 26, was appointed conductor of the Collegium Musicum Orchestra in Heidelberg, Germany, the county's oldest and most revered third level institute.