top of page
  • Think News Online

Peter Twum-Barimah Makes Catholic Archdiocese of Accra Proud, Becomes First PhD Holder In Music(PICS

The operative word of music is play. You get to play music with other people, and you get to play music by yourself. It’s a great refuge from the world sometimes and it’s a great way of putting a smile on someone else’s face. You play something and you give joy to somebody else. It’s great. Growing up, music is all I had, in a way. We didn’t have television at home. We had music and we had the piano. I don’t think there was ever a point growing up where I said to myself ‘I love music,’ but when I was four or five years old, I thought, ‘Hey if I just bang on those keys it makes an interesting noise.


“It was a game and music is a game of sound. To me, it’s still a game of sound. If you play the wrong note but you listen in the right way, you go, ‘Hang on that’s really interesting. I never thought that could work.’ You forever get to discover things.

You forever get to feel something. You get to communicate on a profound level with the musician in your orchestra, you get to communicate and make the audience feel something. That’s to me a life well lived. Every day you have the opportunity to just spend a few moments feeling something.” These are the words of Hans Zimmer, a composer, interstellar, and one of the film industry’s most influential composers, whose career spans three decades and encompasses over 150 films.


According to Warren Young, Musicians’ brains are wired differently than non-musicians.

Performing music is realized early in life, to be their absolutely favorite thing to do with their free time.

Also, studying music from a young age gives musicians an intense internal desire to keep growing and improving as a musician.

Once the appropriate levels of performance training are received, then opportunities will present themselves. A famous musician once said: "water finds its own level".

This is very true, as high-level musicians seek opportunities to play music with top musicians at their level or better. Also, "a band is only as good as its weakest member"... This quote summarizes that lower level musicians bring the quality down when top players are involved.


Guided by the above statements from the celebrated Musicians, Peter, who was born into a Catholic family, and had both parents who were into music, becomes the first in Catholic Archdiocese of Accra, to be awarded a PhD in music, and the first to receive a PhD in his family by dint of hard work, dedication and perseverance.

At a tender age of nine years, Peter developed interest in music and had his first electronic keyboard from the United Kingdom and began music lessons at the Saint Theresa Preparatory School – North Kaneshie during his school days. He took music lessons from Mr. Peter Nii Dan-Okine and transferred his knowledge unto the piano. 

Young Peter’s love for music can be traced to his father (John Twum-Barimah) who played drums in church during offering time at the St. Marouns’ Church, Osu-Re and his mother Celestina Twum–Barimah (a soprano singer of both the Singing Ministry of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and a chorister at the St. Bakhita choir, Amasaman -Accra.

At the time, young Peter Twum-Barimah was completing Junior Secondary School in 2001 now Junior High School, his love for the piano became so strong that he had begun playing in public, especially at family gatherings and at Youth Mass and Service at the Christ the King Catholic Church – Cantonments in Accra.

From there, he proceeded to the Saint Martin’ Secondary School, now Saint Martin’s Senior High School and studied Music as part of his electives in the General Arts class and sat for the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education now the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and passed successively.

Having obtained good grades, the celebrated Dr. Twum-Barimah advanced to the Methodist University College, Ghana in 2005 to read the Church Music Certificate Programme and after completion in 2006 the desire to explore his passion for music was now starting.

The easy-going Peter Twum-Barimah continued to Ghana’s premiere University (University of Ghana, Legon) to read a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree (Music, Dance and Theatre Studies). After successful completion of his programme, Peter passed all examinations, where he was awarded a First Class Honours in Music with Theatre Arts in 2012 (he was the only single major music student graduating that year). All along his musical education, Dr. Peter has been playing the piano at Catholic Archdiocesan events and other high-profile programmes related to the Catholic Church in Ghana.

In pursuant to drink deep, Dr. Peter enrolled in his second degree at the University of Ghana, which awarded him with a Master of Philosophy Degree in Music (MPHIL-Music).

Dr. Peter Twum-Barimah’s interest in music was getting stronger and was much appreciated by his audience during his performance(s). During his MPhil Music studies, he was invited by one Abednego Botwe (Director of Music, Christ Anglican Church, University of Ghana, Legon) to assist in playing their new church organ. Peter took this humble assignment judiciously and has performed extensively especially with regards to concerts with the Christ Church Choir on several occasions till date.

Dr. Peter following the changing trends in the music industry and the quest to drink deeper knowledge in his music passion, enrolled in the new four-year Music PhD structure of the University of Ghana in 2017.

This demanded a lot of hard work and with lots of efforts, Peter was relentless till he completed all required examinations leading to a successful completion. And was subsequently awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in Music Degree.

His graduation reception was well attended by lots of Catholics and Anglicans, friends, family, colleagues, choirmasters and music directors, organists, and well-wishers at the Christ Church Hall - University of Ghana.

Dr. Peter’s area of specialization is music theory and Composition, and he has interest also in choral works, analytical studies and hopes to branch into the area of church music in the future.

His aspirations are to encourage both prospective students and students to admonish the studying of music as a divine call and to embrace it whole heartedly, to assist music directors who need help in running their choirs with his experience in the field of choral music and music education, and lastly to train a lot of church organists and directors to enhance the liturgy with good music.

Dr. Twum-Barimah’s motivation is from God Almighty, and he is of the view that it is by the Grace of God that has made him come this far, as he takes inspiration from composers such as; George Frederick Handel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Josef Haydn, Dr. Ephraim Amu, Kenn Kafui and Anthony Kobina Yebuah.

Currently, Dr. Peter Twum-Barimah is the Principal Organist and Deputy Music Director of the Holy Spirit Cathedral, Adabraka – Accra- Ghana and Co-Music Director of the Christ Anglican Church – University of Ghana, Legon, Accra -Ghana.

He is also a consultant in choral music and music theory and the teaching of piano. He is a faculty member at the Department of Music, University of Ghana - Legon and aims to promote good music whenever he is called upon.

He advises the youth especially to all those who wish to enter the music industry irrespective of the ensemble or musical institution to be humble and respectful and persevere in life to achieve their dreams.

Acknowledging the those who have played various roles in his educational career, Dr. Twum-Barimah said “I am very grateful to the following personalities and groups for supporting me in my music career, making me achieve this height: Ambassador Isaac Osei & Mrs. Marian Osei, Pastor Mrs. Lamptey, Pastor Stephen Gabbah, the Very Rev. Fr. Dr. John Kobina Louis, Mr. Anthony Kobina Yebuah, Mr. Michael Morant Ezan, Dr. (Mrs.) Mary Anane-Mensah,  Lieutenant-General Peter Augustine Blay, Professor Joshua Alfred Amuah, Professor John Franklyn Wiredu, the Holy Spirit Cathedral Patrons Council, the Holy Spirit and Christ Church Choirs, the Maestros Catholicam and the Faculty of the Department of Music- University of Ghana – Legon.”

Reiterating the words of Debra Allred, Dr. Peter Twum-Barimah who maintained that music fulfills his soul and makes him feel confident and it enriches his life and the life of others, opined that a doctorate of musical arts is the highest level one can achieve. Those who choose to go this route almost always enter the teaching field in some capacity. 

Music, or Musicology is the art of combining sounds, represented as musical notes, in a succession or simultaneously in an aesthetically pleasant and rhythmical form and the integration of these aspects in a complete piece.

Music uses musical instruments or the human voice to create art. Music is divided in genres that are characterized by similar melody, harmonic, rhythmic, form, orchestration, literary text where applicable and other compositional aspects.

Music studies are very complex and can be focused on mastering a certain musical instrument, or mastering composition, conducting and orchestra or being an expert in music history. The study of music has many sub-disciplines like: ethnomusicology, historical musicology, music theory, music analysis, musical composition, musical critic and others.

Students enrolled in a Music degree will gain skills like: creativity, ability to work independently and become more responsible, organized and orderly persons.

By studying music, students will be able to express themselves to a range of audiences.

They will be able to perform and select repertoires suited to particular performance contexts.


 Below are some pictures:


Story by Innocent Samuel Appiah




bottom of page