Peter Walls completed degrees in English literature and music (BMus in Violin performance) at Victoria University before going to Oxford to study for a DPhil in musicology. He has published widely in the areas of Baroque and Classical performance practice (mostly articles for Early Music) and 17th century English music.
His publications include the section on Baroque string playing in Performance Practice: Music after 1600, edited by H. M. Brown and S. Sadie (London: Macmillan), and Music in the English Courtly Masque 1604-1640 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995). He has been an area adviser (and is currently preparing a number of articles) on performance practice and violin-related articles for the next edition of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.
He is also active as a performer and has conducted professional and amateur orchestras and choirs in a wide range of repertoire. He is particularly known as an 18th-century specialist and directs The Baroque Players - a period instrument orchestra, and The Tudor Consort. As a baroque violinist, he is a former member of the Academy of Ancient Music and has led the period instrument orchestras for Handel oratorio performances in Auckland and Wellington. In 1991 he was invited to New York to participate in the Lincoln Center's symposium on performing Mozart.
Within the School of Music he teaches graduate courses and supervises research projects both on 17th century English music and performance practice. He lectures on music history in the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic periods and teaches conducting. He is the regular conductor of the University Orchestra.