Born in Minnesota to a family of artists and scientists, Peter Perret was Music Director of the Winston-Salem Symphony from 1978 to 2004. After a promising start as an oboe virtuoso, Maestro Perret pursued a conducting career, winning international competitions in Besançon, France and Florence, Italy. He worked as a producer for the Swiss Television Network and formed its first music department. He left Switzerland after 5 years to become the Principal Conductor of the Capetown Symphony (South Africa). He served the Buffalo Philharmonic as Exxon/Arts Endowment Conductor for three years before coming to Winston-Salem.
Intrigued by the Arts in all their multiple facets, Perret now dedicates a large portion of his energies to discovering and exploring the relationship between the arts and learning. He conceived of the now-famous Bolton project after hearing a related news story on National Public Radio. This music residency program has produced significant improvements in reading and arithmetic learning abilities in primary school children. The curriculum and methods have also been successfully tested in schools in Tucson, Arizona and are now being broadly implemented in the state of Arizona. Maestro Perret and Janet Fox have written a book, A Well-Tempered Mind; Using Music to Help Children Listen and Learn, aimed at parents and teachers, published by the Dana Press in October 2004 and in paperback in 2006.
Maestro Perret has long been active in other aspects of education: he developed, and for five years has taught, The Mathematics and Science of Music for Winston-Salem State University's summer program for at-risk middle schoolers. He also served as chairman of the board of directors at the Arts Based Elementary School, a public charter school in Winston-Salem, NC.
Perret has conducted concerts in Belgium, Brazil, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Spain, South Africa, and Switzerland as well as in many major metropolitan centers in the USA, and has recorded frequently with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (Switzerland) and the Hessischer Rundfunk Sinfonie Orchester (Frankfurt, Germany). Under his direction, the Winston-Salem Symphony has recorded works of Morton Gould, Sherwood Shaffer, and Robert Ward for the Albany Records, Koch International, and Vienna Modern Masters recording labels.
Having retired from the position of Music Director, Perret now devotes a significant portion of his time to working with non-professional musicians, students and seniors. He also leads workshops and discussions of the relationship of music to learning. A rigorous study of the causes and effects of the Music, Mind & Reading (formerly Bolton) method in conjunction with the Wake Forest University Medical School has indicated a significant correlation between the music intervention and improved phonemic awareness in young children. He is a freelance reviewer for the Classical Voice of North Carolina (www.cvnc.org).