Composer Robert Paterson continues to gain attention here and abroad for writing “vibrantly scored and well-crafted” music that “often seems to shimmer” (NewMusicBox). His works are praised for their elegance, wit, structural integrity, and a wonderful sense of color. Paterson was awarded The Composer of The Year at Carnegie Hall from the Classical Recording Foundation in 2011. The Book of Goddesses was nominated for the Grammys® this past year for Best Contemporary Classical Composition and was named one of the Top 10 favorite pieces of the year by NPR’s Best Music of 2012.
Recent performances include Dark Mountains with Jaime Laredo and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the European premiere ofDancing Games by the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire (France), and Eternal Reflections, commissioned for the San Francisco-based Volti choir. His works have been played by the Louisville Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, New York New Music Ensemble, BargeMusic, California EAR Unit, and Ensemble Aleph in Paris.
Upcoming engagements include a commission for the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Dark Mountains with the Austin Symphony, and an album of Paterson’s choral works to be recorded with Musica Sacra and conductor, Kent Tritle. Paterson won the 2010 Cincinnati Camerata Composition Competition for his setting of Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep (text by Mary Frye). The panel chose this work from his cycle Eternal Reflections for its “expressive choral writing, text painting and imaginatively beautiful textures.”
Awards include the Copland Award, two ASCAP Young Composer Awards, a three-year Music Alive! grant from the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA ,the American Composers Forum, and ASCAP. Fellowships include Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts.
Born in 1970, Paterson was raised in Buffalo, New York, the son of a sculptor and a painter. Although his first love was percussion, he soon discovered a passion for composition, writing his first piece at age thirteen.
Paterson pioneered the development of a six-mallet marimba technique. He presented the world’s first all six-mallet marimba recital at the Eastman School of Music in 1993, and released the first-ever album of six mallet music, Six Mallet Marimba in 2012 (AMR) to a sold out crowd at the Rubin Museum in Chelsea, NY.
In 2005, Paterson founded the American Modern Ensemble (AME), which spotlights American music via lively thematic programming. He serves as artistic director for AME as well as house composer, frequently contributing new pieces to the ensemble, and he directs the affiliated record label, American Modern Recordings (AMR), which will be distributed by Naxos in 2014.
He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music (BM), Indiana University (MM), and Cornell University (DMA). Paterson has given master classes at numerous colleges and universities, most recently at the Curtis Institute of Music, New York University, Ithaca College, the University of Vermont and the Eastman School of Music. He resides in New York City with his wife, Victoria, and son, Dylan, and summers at the Rocky Ridge Music Center in Colorado where he is composer-in-residence.