Peter Dayton

Composer Fellow (USA)

Peter Dayton

Composer Fellow

Described by American Record Guide as “…a composer whose heart and care are palpable… who has a voice that deserves to be heard often” Peter Dayton’s compositions have been performed across North America and in Europe. Peter holds a Bachelor’s Degree (summa cum laude) from Vanderbilt University and a Master’s Degree in Composition from Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, where he won the Macht and Gustav Klem Composition Awards.

Peter’s creative output is directly shaped by his relationships and life experiences. Many of his works use visual art or poetry as the spark for an artistic response. Peter’s passion for literature has resulted in over a dozen settings of poems in art songs and choral works, as well as the libretto for his chamber opera May She | She May about Gertrude Stein’s first love affair.

Ablaze Records has published a substantial portion of Peter’s output for large ensemble. His works appear on Volumes 2 and 3 of their Orchestral Masters series, on the inaugural CD of their Sinfonia series, and on Volumes 1 and 2 of their New Choral Voices series. Notes to Loved Ones, hailed by Whole Note as “an interesting and promising debut,” is published by Navona Records.

Featured Work

Recurring Dream: Second Fantasy, for Viola and Piano

Composed for the Intimacy of Creativity composition contest, this work is technically a ‘revision’ of my submitted composition for that opportunity: my Fantasy for Viola and Piano, composed roughly a decade earlier. The contest involves revision as part of actively engaging the composer in the collaborative creative process of workshopping. In my case, in evaluating my work for final selection, Bright Sheng challenged me to create a work less abruptly sectional out of some of the most memorable material from the Fantasy, essentially strip-mining that earlier work out of which to forge a new work. A fascinating challenge with a limited timeframe, Recurring Dream: Second Fantasy for Viola and Piano stands either in contradistinction to the original Fantasy or on its own. The primary melody, the waltz-like, filme noire theme, melancholy tone, and contrast of moods and colors of the original are all retained and recast in this new work – with a continuous thread running between the viola and piano parts as they travel down new musical pathways, like a dream whose elements remain the same but the order has been jumbled. Considering how many of my works are inspired by other artists, it seems somewhere between poetic justice and a logical extension of my creative practice to compose a piece inspired by my own work, from the distance of ten years. This second fantasy is dedicated to Christopher Lowry, who has sustained the life of the original Fantasy in performance over these many years.

-Peter Dayton