By nature, Duke Special (aka Belfast’s Peter Wilson) is a curious person. He is curious about music, theatre, books, poetry, art, love, life, redemption, death and 78RPM records. All of this is evidenced by the variety of musical adventures throughout his career. He has released 16 albums and EPs, toured all over the world and has been involved in a diverse array of other projects, including writing the music for Deborah Warner’s critically acclaimed 2009 production of Mother Courage and Her Children at London’s National Theatre and being commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to write a series of original songs based on photographs for their exhibition of the photographers Stieglitz, Steichen and Strand.
In the world of theatre, since Mother Courage, Duke has written music for four shows with Andrew Doyle: Gulliver’s Travels (BYMT, 2015), Paperboy, (BYMT, 2017), Huckleberry Finn (Lyric Theatre, Belfast, 2018), and Breadboy (BYMT 2022) and with Bob Kelly: Breakfast on Pluto (Landmark Productions and Galway International Arts Festival, in development).
Performing live is still one of Duke Special’s main passions, and over the years he has played to captive audiences across the world. Whether he performs solo, as a duo, with a full band, a string quartet or an orchestra, a Duke Special show is always a unique experience. In 2023, to celebrate the release of his first EP 21 years ago, he embarks on a series of live shows - Adventures in Belfast and Adventures in Ireland - showcasing songs from across his remarkable career, joined by long term collaborator and brother in arms, the tintinnabulator, Temperance Society Chip Bailey.