Described by the press as “a modern day master” (AXS.com) and the “highlight of the program” (The New York Times), Robert Paterson has won awards for his music in virtually every classical genre. The Classical Recording Foundation at Carnegie’s Weill Hall named Paterson Composer of The Year in 2011, and his music has been on the Grammy ballot for the past six seasons. His works have appeared on National Public Radio’s Best of the Year lists for classical music and regularly appear on radio playlists across the United States.
Paterson’s music has been performed by over one hundred world-class ensembles, including Musica Sacra in NYC, Nashville Opera, Minnesota Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Delaware Symphony, Austin Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, American Modern Ensemble, Atlantic Brass Quintet, Imani Winds, and Ensemble Aleph in Paris.
Recent commissions include Ghost Theater, for the Albany Symphony, Shine for the American Brass Quintet, Moon Trio for the Claremont Trio and new works for the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Eastman Wind Ensemble, and numerous choirs, including Ember and The Esoterics. Paterson’s debut choral album, Eternal Reflections, was released by Musica Sacra and Maestro Kent Tritle in 2015.
Paterson has received awards for his works in virtually every classical genre, including the A.I. duPont Composer’s Award from the Delaware Symphony, a three-year Music Alive grant from the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA, the American Composers Forum Jerome Composers Commissioning Program, the Utah Arts Festival Commission Competition, and fellowships to Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, Aspen Music Festival, the Atlantic Center for the Arts and the Copland House.
In 2005, Paterson founded the American Modern Ensemble (AME), which spotlights contemporary music via lively thematic programming. He serves as artistic director as well as house composer, frequently contributing new pieces to the ensemble. In 2018, Paterson co-founded the Mostly Modern Festival (MMF), an annual, three-week summer music festival that highlights contemporary music, which takes place at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. He also founded American Modern Recordings (AMR), an affiliated record label that is distributed by NAXOS. Paterson’s recordings are also featured on the Capstone, Centaur, Summit and Riax labels.
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. While an undergraduate student, Paterson pioneered the development of a six-mallet marimba technique, 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, NYC.
Paterson holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Indiana University, and Cornell University, and gives master classes at numerous colleges and universities, most recently at the Curtis Institute of Music, Aspen Music School & Festival, New York University, and the Cleveland Institute of Music. He resides in New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY with his wife, Victoria, his son, Dylan, and their cat, Cookie. For more information, visit robertpaterson.com.
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