Having received his musical education from the likes of Cyril Perfect, Mario Watoski and Tim Kliphuis, the young Midlands violinist Pete Hartley set forth to London in the early 1980s, to find fame and fortune, armed only with a violin, a mandolin, and a youthful sense of invincibility! Pete discovered a love of gypsy and jazz music alongside his classical education, and when he wasn’t playing session violin for the likes of The Goodies and Not the Nine O’Clock News, he was to be found in the capital’s seediest jazz bars, playing free-form jazz with equally seedy, free-form people…
Pete was encouraged by the positive reception that his crowd-pleasing gigging and busking antics were receiving and decided to record some tapes to sell at his gigs and busking spots. Little knowing where this would lead, he released his first single, “Snake in the Grass” in 1985, and has since recorded over 20 records of both original and cover material under his own name, and worked with the very best in the business on dozens more albums for other artists.
Pete’s playing got him noticed, and he spent much of the 1980s on tour with the Olivier Award-winning Blood Brothers theatre show, jazz outfit Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia and 20th Century Blues. Pete moved back to his native West Midlands and spent several seasons at Alton Towers theme park, helping to soothe the stomachs of queasy roller-coaster victims. He also found time to win a heat of the talent show New Faces, and reject the advances of the ever-youthful Nina Myskow!
More recently, the impetuosity of youth behind him (but not the youth itself, he hastens to add), Pete has become one of the country’s most accomplished and in-demand function and wedding musicians, playing wedding, corporate and governmental gigs in front of the likes of Bill Clinton, Bertie Ahern, Princess Anne and, in a personal career highlight, Joanna Lumley! Pete also teaches violin, mandolin and music theory from his home in Worcestershire, using video conferencing technology to teach students from all over the world. Pete’s first instructional DVD, “Blues Lessons for Violin”, was released in 2005.