Obituary: Peter Zander
Published: 12 Feb 2019
We are extremely sad to hear of the death last month of Churchill Fellow Peter Zander. In a varied career, he worked in theatre, opera, music, films and television. He was awarded a Fellowship in 1969.
Peter’s theatrical career spanned more than 50 years, during which time he worked as an actor, stage manager, lecturer, teacher, and director of theatre and film. He established numerous artistic projects, including Romilly Productions, the Central London Opera, Portsmouth Festival and Richmond-Upon-Thames Arts Festival. He founded the Portsmouth International String Quartet Competition, with Yehudi Menuhin as Music Director, which later became the Wigmore Hall London International String Quartet Competition.
He also taught the performing arts at a number of institutions, including Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, East 15 Acting School, the Inner London Education Authority and Chelsea Institute.
Below: Peter receives a Churchill Fellowship medallion from the Queen Mother in April 1970
For his Fellowship travels, Peter travelled to Austria and Germany to study opera production and administration at leading opera houses. He said of the experience:
“I was channeled towards opera by gaining that travelling Fellowship with the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, which took me to Berlin, Hamburg and other major German cities, and for a magical month of rehearsals and performances in Salzburg, and to beautiful beleaguered Prague.”
He was involved in the East Anglia Association of Churchill Fellows for many years. Peter Hesketh, Secretary of the East Anglia Association, recalls:
“Peter was a much loved member of our Association, a most colourful character and forthright in everything he did. He was fulsome in his praise when it was due but was equally clear if he thought something could be improved. He was impossible to ignore whilst alive and, now he has sadly died, will be impossible to forget.”