Peter Erskine began playing the drums at the age of four, and has now been at the forefront of world?class jazz ensembles for twenty four years. His first major professional work was with the Stan Kenton Orchestra, which he joined in 1972. After a three year stint with Kenton and a two year stay with Maynard Ferguson, he joined Weather Report in 1978.
The excellence of the partnership between Erskine and bassist Jaco Pastorius was an integral part of that group's success. Following his 4 years in Weather Report (having recorded five albums with them including the Grammy Award winning "8:30"), he began to play with Mike Brecker, Mike Mainieri and Eddie Gomez in the group Steps Ahead.
Peter Erskine's other touring and recording credits (250 albums) include Steely Dan, Chick Corea, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Gary Burton & Pat Metheny, Joni Mitchell, Ralph Towner, Sadao Watanabe, Hubert Laws, Vanessa Williams, Al DiMeola, Eliane Elias, Miroslav Vitous and Jan Garbarek, Ensemble Modern, as well as "Bass Desires" (with John Scofield, Bill Frisell, and Marc Johnson), the John Abercrombie Trio, the Kenny Wheeler Quintet & Big Band, the Bob Mintzer Big Band, as well as his own groups. Peter has recorded ten solo albums: "Peter Erskine," "Transition," "Motion Poet," "Sweet Soul," "Big Theatre," and his ECM recordings "You Never Know," "Time Being" and "As It Is," as well as "History of the Drum" on Interworld Music, and "From Kenton To Now" on his own label Fuzzy Music.
Besides touring and recording, Peter Erskine is now pursuing new avenues in his career by composing for dance, theatre and animation. He has completed musical scores for Shakespeare's King Richard II and A Midsummer Night's Dream, the latter being honored by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle with the award for the "Best Original Musical Score 1987."
Peter Erskine's music for The American Conservatory Theatre's production of Twelfth Night was awarded by the Bay Area Drama Critics' Circle as the "Best Dramatic Score for 1989." His most recent works for this medium are Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, and the dance piece "History of the Drum - Transitions in Rhythm", written expressly for the Kokuma Dance Company of Birmingham, England, and has scored animation productions for HBO, Malaysia and Japan (including the hit 'anime' video series "Gun Smith Cats"). He is now the composer of music for the Simon & Schuster books?on?audio series "Alien Voices," starring Leonard Nimoy and John deLancie of Star Trek fame.
Peter Erskine is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, and studied percussion with George Gaber at Indiana University. His own pedagogical efforts include 3 instructional videos, as well as 2 drum instruction books. A collection of Peter's compositions has just been
published in France for world?wide distribution, titled "My Book." Peter conducts clinics, classes and seminars world?wide. He has won the Modern Drummer Magazine Readers' Poll in the Mainstream Jazz Drummer category 4 times, and was awarded an honorary Doctorate degree from the Berklee College of Music.
Peter Erskine makes his home in Southern California with his wife Mutsuko and their two children.