Born in Hong Kong, Peter Shu has studied piano from an early age. A graduate of North Central University with a B.S. in music, and Boston University with a M.Mus in Music Education, Mr. Shu has toured nationally as a performer, producer, and clinician. His background includes choral and orchestral conducting, arranging, producing, sound and electrical engineering.
Mr. Shu’s musical palette spans many genres due to the wild musical journey he’s traveled. Classically trained as a prodigy since age 4, he started his early jazz training with entertainer Jim Shannon in his teens. He then joined the famed JB Singers show choir and later the cover band JB Grads under the direction of James Bontrager, with whom Mr. Shu traveled extensively in the upper Midwest as a union musician. The genres during this era spans music from the 1920’s through the 1990’s, Broadway to Country, Do Wop to Top 40 Pop.
While attending the University of Minnesota, Mr. Shu studied keyboard harmony with Rebecca Shockley and jazz piano with Jimmy Hamilton. He then transferred to North Central University, where he studied classical piano with Dr. Herbert Johnson, and conducting with Dr. Larry Bach. The genres of music during the college years consisted of mostly Contemporary Christian, Gospel, and Worship, with Jazz projects interspersed. He traveled with the Contemporary Christian group One Accord throughout the US and Canada during this time. Mr. Shu started his serious jazz studies with Mary Louis Knutson and Bobby Peterson during the later part of his college career. After Bobby Peterson's untimely death, Mr. Shu continued his studies with the former Cubanisimo pianist Nachito Herrera in Jazz and Afro-Cuban forms.
In 1998, Mr. Shu gained an interest in atonal and free improv forms when he met his wife, choreographer Dannell Shu. In 1999, they produced Alliance in Seattle, WA, a dance and live music full evening performance. This was where Mr. Shu explored his John Cage and Schoenberg tendencies as it relates to dance.
Mr. Shu started the jazz ensembles Esprit de Corps and the Peter Shu Trio in 1998 with a focus of writing and performing original fusion and straight-ahead jazz songs and arrangements. He also started the Festival Orchestra at North Central University, for whom he wrote, arranged, and orchestrated. Mr. Shu was involved in a concept bebop fusion project called Lifestyles, creating with the likes of Curly Martin and Ben “Jammin” Harris, featured on Jazz88’s radio show “Jazz at the G.”
Mr. Shu’s film credits include “Psalm 51” an independent film produced by Kris Barberg (Cohen Brothers), and “Wharepapa” co-commissioned by the state arts board of New Zealand and produced by the Body Cartography Project of Otto Ramstad and Olive Beringa.
From 2000 to 2007 Mr. Shu focused on his role as the Fine Arts Pastor at Christ Church International in South Minneapolis, where he had the rare opportunity to form and direct a professional level ensemble, arranging music from all around the world, while seeking authenticity in everything that was presented. Mr. Shu also produced “Scrooge in the Hood” productions with original music and dance. The self-produced album “A Joyful Christmas” was released in 2003.
In the fall of 2007, Mr. Shu and his wife founded Global Worship Movement (GWM), a missional worship team that integrates movement into worship while leading people in responding to God as a global community. GWM sponsored 6 missions trips to the island country of Trinidad & Tobego, with two of the trips leading full complements of live bands and dancers. GWM continues its work stateside with bringing diversity, global perspective, and mentorship into the local churches and Christian Universities.
The Great Recession of 2008 proved to be a blessing in disguise, as this ushered in a prolific period of music production and performance. The instrumental worship album “Adoration” was released in 2008, and Mr. Shu appeared in Nachito Herrera's rhythm section in the 2008 Twin Cities Jazz Festival with the Tribute to Earth Wind and Fire concert. “By Special Request” house Christmas concert recordings later that year. In 2009, Mr. Shu founded the groups Rubix, an experimental jazz-fusion ensemble, and the Chino Latino Jazz Project. This culminated a fruitful period of latin music amongst various latino dance bands, in the pan-Latin-American styles of salsa, merengue, bachata, cumbia, bolero, danzon, and cha-cha-cha. Mr. Shu served as the musical director of the Latin TV show Domingo Espectacular in 2011.
Due to his expertise in world music, Mr. Shu was recruited to join the Robert Everest Expedition in 2010. Mr. Shu was resident in K-Libre 24 and Sonora Cafe, and apprearing with Charanga Tropical, Tropical Zone, and Damian Rodriguez. Mr. Shu founded the sonora-style ensemble Sangre Comun in 2011 with trumpeter Sten Johnson and salsera Sonia Ortiz-Gomez. On the American and Jazz music side Mr. Shu toured with Mick Sterling and the Irresistibles in 2010, and was resident with the jazz/fusion group Dizzy with singer Mark Johnson in 2010, and the R&B/Funk group MVP with drummer and lead-vocalist Craig Dion in 2011. This period culminated with another appearance at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, this time with the Robert Everest Expedition in 2012.
Upon taking an inner-city African-American church appointment as Worship Pastor in 2013, the late nights with latin music or rock outfits no longer fit. Mr. Shu focused more on jazz and world music projects from that point forward, with the Standards Quintet, Ashley 5, Ralph Hepola, and the occasional Rubix gigs. A highlight was a straight-ahead original concert at Jazz Central with the Shu/Denbow/Mills/Lewis project in 2015. Also a big focus of this time was arranging for the North Central University jazz combos (2000-present), and for the NCU world music ensemble, Worship Live World, which was featured monthly on-campus from 2011-2016.
Mr. Shu has performed in every major venue in the Minneapolis / St. Paul metropolitan area including the Orpheum Theatre, State Theatre, Orchestra Hall, the Walker Center for the Arts, the Artist Quarter, the Dakota Bar and Grill, the Target Center, the Metrodome, the Target Field, and the US Bank Stadium, with concert production experience at the Target Center.
Mr. Shu continues his commitment to world music in the Twin Cities, with residencies with Heart of the City Worship (HOTC), Global Worship Movement (GWM), the Robert Everest Expedition, and Brazilfest, the family-friendly annual celebration of the Brazilian Carnival. Mr. Shu continues to serve his Alma Mater as the Director of Jazz Ensembles at North Central University, and Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Global Worship Movement, Inc. Mr. Shu currently serves as the Department Chair of the BA in Worship and Music at SUM Bible College and Seminary (SUM.edu.) Mr. Shu resides with his family in Minneapolis.