Mar Atlantico – Peter Charles Allen

When was it composed?
2001 on commission from the New World Symphony Orchestra.

When was it premiered?
It premiered that same year in Mexico City.

When was it first heard in Canada?
Symphony Nova Scotia, conducted by Bernhard Gueller, presented it April 28, 2003 at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

What instruments does Allen use?
2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 1 trombone, 1 tuba, 1 timpani, strings

How long does it last?
7 minutes

In 2001 composer Peter Charles Allen was commissioned by the New World Symphony Orchestra to create a short piece for a programme to celebrate the Oceans of the World.  A Haligonian, he was the perfect choice to compose a tone poem dedicated to the ocean he had grown up beside. Finding inspiration in visits to the well-known coves that dot the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia he conjures up the majestic power of the Ocean which introduces the work.  But the violent nature of the Ocean is also present, and a flute cadenza signals the advent of a storm that breaks over the coastline.  The storm subsides and dusk falls over the waves as they make their way to the rocky shore.


Peter Charles Allen – some notes on the composer


  • Well-known as a concert pianist, Peter Allen appeared with the PEISO in October 2012 performing his Hurricane Juan Concerto conducted by James Mark.
  • His compositions reflect his Maritime heritage with works inspired by the Halifax Explosion, Hurricane Juan and today’s Mar Atlantico.
  • Allen often performs with his wife flautist Patricia Creighton and composed two piece for piano/flute duo: Waltz and Scenes from Nova Scotia.
  • He is currently Associate Professor of Piano at the Fountain School of Performing Arts at Dalhousie University where he teaches piano, chamber music and orchestration.
  • His most recent composition is a Cello Sonata which was commissioned by the Scotia Festival of Music. It premiered in June 2019 with Blair Lofgren, principal cellist of the Orchestre symphonique de Québec and Peter at the piano.

Peter Allen’s complete biography, reviews and a catalogue of his numerous compositions can be found at: .


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