Born in Zürich, Switzerland, he studied piano, composition, theory and orchestration, among others with György Ligeti and Terry Riley. Shortly after arriving in New York in the early 80's he connected with key figures of the Downtown Scene such as Kip Hanrahan, Arto Lindsay, Bill Frisell, Nana Vasconcelos and John Zorn, collaborating on numerous recording projects and performances, while also working with R&B artists like Nile Rodgers, Cameo and many others. With Arto Lindsay he founded the Ambitious Lovers, mixing elements of Brazilian, experimental, Funk, R&B, and Soul styles resulting in the release of three albums, 'Envy', 'Greed' and 'Lust'. They also released 'Pretty Ugly', a compilation of music for dance and theatre.
Commissions for film music followed, resulting in soundtracks such as 'Never Again, Forever' and 'Another Road Home' for Israeli film maker Danae Elon; the Wim Wenders produced 'Voodoo, Mounted By The Gods', directed by Alberto Venzago; the Brazilian film 'Sobras em Obras' about Geraldo de Barros, directed by Michel Favre; and 'Aline' by Swiss/Indian filmmaker Kamal Musale.
On another front Scherer was collaborating with choreographer Amanda Miller and Frankfurt Ballet for two productions, 'Pretty Ugly' and 'No Wild Ones' and later with the Zurich Opera Ballet for 'Essey and Pannes'.
At the same time Scherer began working as a producer with such artists as Caetano Veloso, Laurie Anderson, Bill Frisell, World Saxophone Quartet, Corin Curschellas, Ute Lemper and Nana Vasconcelos.
As a keyboard player he has frequently appeared in concert and recordings, especially with Laurie Anderson and has lent his personal sonic fabric as a studio musician or arranger to numerous recordings by such artists as Marc Ribot, David Byrne, Marisa Monte, Arto Lindsay, John Zorn, Cameo, Al Jeareau, Rebekka Bakken, Cyro Baptista, Kip Hanrahan, Nana Vasconcelos, Jun Miyake, Vinicius Cantuaria, and many others.
Recent activities include predominantly work as a film music composer and arranger.
In addition, Peter Scherer is currently teaching at Bern University of the Arts in the department Music and Media Art as well as at the University of the Arts in Zürich in the department Music for Film, Theater and Media