WAYNE PETERSON (born in Albert Lea, MN, 1927 living in San Francisco, CA since 1960) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 1992 crowning a distinguished career which began in 1958 with the Free Variations premiered and recorded by the Minnesota Orchestra under Antal Dorati. Peterson's orchestral compositions include Three Pieces for Orchestra, And The Winds Shall Blow a fantasy for saxophone quartet, symphonic winds, brass and percussion, and The Face of the Night, The Heart of the Dark, commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony (awarded the Pulitzer). Recent works include String Trio, Pas de Deux (flute and percussion), Two Poems of Delmore Schwartz (for chorus), and Scherzo (flute, clarinet, violin, cello).

Peterson's catalog of more than 60 compositions includes works for orchestra, chorus, and chamber ensemble. In addition to the Pulitzer, Peterson has been honored with fellowships and commissions from the Guggenheim, Koussevitzky, Fromm, Meet The Composer, Gerbode, Djerassi Foundations, as well as an award of distinction from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. In 1990 he was a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome.

Among the recent compact discs are two all-Peterson discs on Albany, his three string quartets performed by the Alexander Quartet (Foghorn Classics), Windup (Rascher Quartet, BIS), and Janus on a North/South Consonance CD.

Peterson has been active as a guest composer at the Indiana University, University of Minnesota, Brandeis University, U.C.Santa Barbara, the Composer's Conference in Wellesley, MA and at the Festival of New Music, Sacramento State University. He has served on the Nomination Committee for the Pulitzer Prize in Music, 1999, 2000, and was a jury member for the First Seoul International Competition for Composers, 2001. In addition, Peterson in joint sponsorship with San Francisco State University, established and currently administers the Wayne Peterson Prize in Music Composition (since 1998).

Peterson has been professor of music at San Francisco State University for more than three decades and from 1992-94 was a guest professor of composition at Stanford University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and was a Fulbright Scholar at the Royal Academy of Music in London from 1953-54. Peterson's music is published by C.F. Peters Corporation, Boosey and Hawkes, Seesaw Music, Trillenium Music (Turnbridge, VT) and Lawson-Gould.


Distler Performance Hall at Tufts University | January 30, 2011
Houghton Chapel at Wellesley College | January 29, 2011
Studzinski Recital Hall at Bowdoin College | January 28, 2011
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | January 22, 2010

News and Press

[Concert Review] Professor Brody's "monsters" scare some but inspire many

Were music a liquid, the music performed in the “Monsters of Modernism” concert would be a steaming mug of black coffee. And don’t even think of asking for milk and sugar. Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s Jan. 29 concert, led by conductor Gil Rose, turned heads with its unconventional music. The composers were “uncompromising,” Rose said. “They wrote the music that they believed in,” regardless of what the popular norms were. Among the contemporary composers featured was Wellesley Music Professor Martin Brody.

The Wellesley News Full review
[Concert Review] Not at all Monsters of Modernism

Gil Rose, who has included Tufts University as one of the bases of his Boston Modern Orchestra Project, brought a group of nineteen of Boston’s best freelancers to Distler Hall on Sunday afternoon, January 30, for a program of vivid (and not at all monstrous) American works for small orchestra and chamber groups. BMOP gave the same program at Bowdoin College and Wellesley College before this well-seasoned wrap-up. The audience was smaller than it ought to have been, but the weather was certainly much to blame for that.

The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
[Concert Review] Things that go BMOP in the night

If you attended a performance of the Boston Symphony Orchestra last fall, chances are pretty good that you heard one or more of Beethoven’s symphonies. The BSO, widely recognized as one of the world’s most elite orchestras, presented a complete set of these vaunted works throughout October and November and has several additional performances scattered throughout their concert season. My hometown orchestra, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, dedicated this, their 116th season, to the theme “Beethoven and Beyond.” Their concerts are centered around a complete series of the nine symphonies.

Brandeis Hoot Full review
[Concert Review] Classical Music Review: BMOP's Band in Boston

Time was when Boston had a City Censor, and books and plays drummed up trade by having them “Banned in Boston.” The Boston Modern Orchestra Project, headed by conductor Gil Rose, came up with the deliciously punning title “Band in Boston” for its Jordan Hall concert on January 22. Indeed there was not a bowed string instrument to be seen on stage all evening – nothing but 36 wind players, plus five percussionists, a harpist, and three pianists.

The Arts Fuse Full review
[Concert Review] BMOP: Band in Boston

The BMOP continued its season last Friday with their Band in Boston concert, celebrating 20th and 21st century music for wind ensemble with two repertoire mainstays by Stravinsky and Percy Grainger, as well as some newer compositions by Harold Meltzer, Wayne Peterson, and Joseph Schwantner. Robert Kirzinger’s excellent program notes make the case that band music has lost some of its historical prestige because the bands (military, university, etc.) have themselves lost their prestige, despite their ability, popularity, and cultural and social significance.

Boston lowbrow Full review
[Concert Review] BMOP does band

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project is known for exploring a wide variety of 20th- and 21st-century instrumental music. On January 22nd at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, under the baton of music director Gil Rose, the group forayed into wind ensemble territory with a program of varying styles and with mixed effectiveness.

The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
[Concert Review] Mighty winds and brass!

If you saw sparks flying over Boston’s Back Bay last night, it might have been the result of the energy and excitement generated by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project during their performance in Jordan Hall. BMOP’s primary mission is to commission, perform and record new orchestral work. They also perform 20th-century “classics” with great gusto.

Miss Music Nerd Full review