Peter de Jager is gaining a solid reputation as a pianist, harpsichordist and composer around Melbourne. He is a sought-after soloist and collaborative musician for standard, early, and contemporary repertoire, and in addition has directed amateur music theatre productions and accompanied many cabaret performances at The Butterfly Club. He has performed for the Astra Chamber Music Society, collaborated with the new music ensemble Quiver, and continues to be company pianist for the contemporary vocal ensemble Aria Co, whose first season at the Melbourne Recital Centre in 2010 was a sellout success.
His harpsichord work is varied, ranging from orchestral and chamber continuo playing, to solo repertoire, be it contemporary, baroque, or arrangements of popular music, and he has helped develop and perform new ensemble works by David Chisholm and James Rushford featuring the instrument. As a soloist or orchestra member, he has played with most of the major Victorian orchestras, including Orchestra Victoria and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and highlights include his performance of the demanding solo piano part of the Turangalila-Symphonie of Olivier Messiaen, in collaboration with the Melbourne Youth Orchestra conducted by Fabian Russell, and, in 2010, the solo celeste part in Elliott Gyger's Angels and Insects with the University of Melbourne Chamber Orchestra conducted by Andrew Litton. Peter has a significant and long-standing association with the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM). He was a student there from 2005 to 2008, first as part of their Young Academy program, and then as a full-time student. He is currently on faculty as an associate artist, and in 2012 was resident emerging composer, with works of his performed by ANAM students throughout the year.
Peter is beginning to make his mark overseas, participating in the 2009 and 2010 Lucerne Festival Academy, where he was accepted from applicants worldwide, playing under the baton and artistic direction of Pierre Boulez in contemporary orchestral, ensemble, and piano duo repertoire. In 2011, he traveled to North Adams, Massachussets, for the annual Bang On A Can Summer Festival, enjoying three weeks of intensive contemporary music making with a select group of young musicians from around the world.
In May 2011, Peter was awarded first prize at the first Australian International Chopin Competition, held at the Australian National University in Canberra, an event which appealed to him because of his broad interest in historical performance practice, in this instance that of the romantic performing tradition.