Although his name is synonymous with the seminal Folk-Rock Band 'Steeleye Span', Peter Knight has avoided being categorised purely as a Folk Musician due to the diversity of musical genres that he chooses to apply to his music making, and to the musicians he has chosen to work with. Peter has that rare gift of being able to seamlessly embrace a number of musical styles with consummate skill and effortless grace. Author Terry Pratchett had a nutshell moment when he wrote “Peter Knight can spin the World on his Bow”.
His prodigious talent was recognised at an early age when in true Billy Elliot style his life changed by winning a place at The Royal Academy of Music in London, an experience that has indelibly left its mark on Peter's style of playing.
Resisting the lure of an extension to continue his studies as a classical soloist, Peter left the Royal Academy at 16 and was drawn to the copious presence of Irish Music that was flourishing in London during the 1960's. Inspired initially by the legendary Fiddle players Michael Coleman and Michael Gorman, Peter totally immersed himself into the playing of traditional music and began performing in Folk Clubs with guitarist Bob Johnson. Being invited by Ashley Hutchings to join the fledgling 'Steeleye Span' secured his place within the annals of British Folk Music. The Band has gone on to become one of the most successful Folk-Rock Band in Britain, securing a string of Gold Albums and top ten hits, and remains influential after more than 40 years.
However, an encounter with globally renowned Saxophonist Trevor Watts marked a very significant turning point in Peter's musical journey when he was introduced to the area of free improvisation.
Peter counts his playing with Trevor and his Bands 'Moiré Music' and 'The Drum Orchestra' as one of his most deeply influential and formative experiences, and has continued to use both improvisation and free improvisation as means of accessing a rich seam of emotion and depth of feeling, something that is particularly in evidence with his Trio 'Gigspanner'.
Every year, Peter hosts a two day Musician’s Masterclass in the Cotswolds, a weekend where the theme is ‘By risking nothing, we risk everything’. Attracting musicians of all leanings and capabilities, Peter’s endeavour is to guide each participant to unearth their own musical voice, and to assist them to load whatever music they choose to play with something that has real value.
Peter has had a long and diverse life in music, and he continues to seek and embrace new challenges. In 2012 he was appointed Patron of the Fiddle Festival of Britain, and this year, 2013, he has had the honour of being commissioned by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to compose and record music for a very special project in relation to Anne Hathaway’s Cottage.
When the demands of the touring life are not upon him, Peter is to be found at his holiday home in the Limousin, France where he spends much time working in his recording studio, a building which in its former life housed the communal Bread Oven!