He studied piano with Vladimir Padwa in summer camp, Russell Sherman in Boston, and Irma Wolpe in New York, and organ with Charles Courboin at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. He spent much of his early life traveling in Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean, and has played concerts in the Himalaya and the Chugach.
His great aunt Welthy Fisher founded, on the advice of Mahatma Gandhi, World Education, Inc., which built seven Literacy Villages near Lucknow in India to teach sustainable farming and language. Its motto is a quote from Tagore: “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” His cousin Dee, Mildred Barnes Bliss, commissioned the Dumbarton Oaks Concerto from Igor Stravinsky and co-founded the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His cousin, Lauro de Bosis, poet and translator of Sophocles, was shot down by Mussolini’s air force while dropping anti-fascist pamphlets on Rome. Harvard offers the De Bosis Lectureship on Italian culture, funded partly by Giovanni Agnelli.
His grandfather, William James O’Brien, built and chaired Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, New York.
With his wife Cathy, he is co-trustee of the Sidney E. Frank Foundation, which funds projects in the arts, education, and climate change.
With his wife Cathy, he is a co-trustee of the Tippet Rise Foundation, and co-founder of the Tippet Rise Art Center in Fishtail, Montana.
Cathy and Peter have two wonderful daughters and two adorable grandchildren.