Peter Maxwell Dixon arrived in Birmingham from Leicester, where he grew up, in 2004 to study Composition (Classical) at Birmingham Conservatoire. He studied under Joe Cutler, Lamberto Coccioli and Andrew Downs. “By studying composition I had the opportunity to immerse myself in music for four years”, he says, “I was also able to record many of my fellow students who were studying on the jazz course”.
He added, “like my father, my preferred role within music is one that enables others as opposed to being in the spotlight”. Peter’s father spent his professional life as a piano tuner, piano engineer and “all round piano expert”. Peter feels that his role as a sound engineer approaches music from the same standpoint. “My passion is to allow audience members to hear the music that is being performed as the musicians on stage intend it to be heard.” He adds, “Well, at least and possibly very selfishly, the way that I think it should sound to an audience member.”
It was during his time at the Conservatoire that Peter got himself properly involved with live sound and began to work engineering jazz gigs including Thursday nights at the Yardbird (then Bread & Roses) started by Simon Harris. He became involved with Birmingham Jazz in 2007. “Since then I’ve been given incredible opportunities,” he says, “through Birmingham Jazz, Jazzlines, The Edge (with Alison Vermee at the helm) and the Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton I’ve been able to engineer gigs by many incredible artists that have passed through the West Midlands.”
(words and pictures by Garry Corbett)
Here are some of the organisation and bands that Peter has been fortunate to have the opportunity to engineer and worked with: