Composer Matthew Peterson has swiftly made his mark as an independent, vital new voice in composition, with works that have been described as “truly beautiful” (The Washington Post) “darkly brilliant” (Texas Classical Review) and “startlingly immediate” (Wall Street Journal). He is a composer who moves dynamically between socially-relevant contemporary operas, epic orchestral works celebrating a great and powerful nature, playful and virtuosic solos, and shimmering, lyrical choral works.
His music defies categorization. Sixty-plus performed works feature mystical soundscapes, atmospheric light-clouds, soaring voices embracing one another midair, airy and elusive constructions of undulating dynamics and flickering facets, powerful zigzag lines, unruly and physically pounding rhythms snorting with life, and songs of devastating simplicity.
Over the past five years (2016-20) Peterson has been commissioned by the Kennedy Center, Musik I Syd/Lund Choral Festival, The St Olaf Orchestra, Stockholm Saxophone Quartet, Sofia Vokalensemble, Uppsala Vokalensemble, organist Bengt Tribukait, Trio Lindgård Rodrick Öqvist, Gustaf Sjökvists Chamber Choir, and guitarist Mårten Falk. His crossover collaborations include orchestrations for performing artists Mariam the Believer and Stor.
Recent and upcoming performances include Sofia Vokalensemble’s August 2019 Japan Tour featuring Cantate Domino, the October 2019 world premiere at Stockholms Konserthus of Dance Party Playlist commissioned in honor of Stockholm Saxophone Quartet’s 50th anniversary, The St Olaf Choir’s 2019 Norway Tour and 2020 US East Coast tour featuring Adoramus Te, the March 2020 premiere at Berwaldhallen of a new work composed in memory of Sven-David Sandström for Gustaf Sjökvists Kammarkör and Stockholm Saxophone Quartet, the summer 2020 premiere of Laud for organ by Bengt Tribukait, the October 2020 premiere of The Singing Wilderness with St. Olaf Orchestra, and the October 2020 premiere of three motets for a cappella choir at Lund Choral Festival.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS
Matthew has been awarded the Fulbright Grant to Sweden, grand prize in the 2014 Uppsala tonsättartävling, the 2014 ASCAP Rudolf Nissim Award, 2015 Minnesota Orchestra composer institute, two BMI student composer awards, the 2014 Fort Worth Opera Frontiers Festival award for chamber opera, and other funding, honors, and awards from: Kulturrådet (the Swedish Arts Council), Svensk Musik, FST (Swedish Composers Association), STIM, ASCAP, Längmanska Kulturfond, the Wallenberg Foundation, Helge Ax:son Johnson Foundation, Manhattan Beach Music, Third Angle ensemble, New Lens concert series, Opera Vista, North-South Consonance, Indiana University, Boston Choral Ensemble, National Opera Association, vocal ensemble Chanticleer, Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra, Forth Worth Opera, Vocal Essence, and St. Olaf College. His choral works are published by Gehrmans and Hinshaw, and his remaining works are available from Svensk Musik/Swedish Music Information Center and Tempo Music Resource.
Peterson holds degrees from the Gotland School of Music Composition (artist diploma), Indiana University School of Music (M.M.) and St. Olaf College (B.M.), where his teachers included Sven-David Sandström and Mary Ellen Childs. Currently head instructor of music composition at Lilla Akademien, Matthew has also served on the faculty of the Gotland School of Music Composition (Visby, Sweden) and as an Associate Instructor in music composition at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Matthew is an avid outdoorsman and lives in Dalarna, Sweden.