Vince Peterson: Musician's Credo

Learn how to write your own credo

I am Vince Peterson.  

I am a musician. Music is my one, true vocation. I will not leave it, and it will not leave me. Music is my best friend. I believe music is a modality and a force that is continually undulating in the world. I live to witness it rush through the hands, hearts, and faces of those around me.  

I am placed in the world to serve music with humility. I put the demands of music in the center of my heart, before fame, money, notoriety, or public deference. I am called to teach, compose, conduct, and produce music as my primary source of sustenance. I assert my lifelong commitment to this and, therefore, my professional expectations of those for whom and with whom I invoke music.  

I believe in the human voice as the primary instrument of civilization. I believe in the power of the human psyche being attached to the voice. I believe the psyche is intrinsically connected to sound. I believe in the innate power of human voices in chorus to change the world. I celebrate the ingenuity of physical instruments and their connection to the earth's precious natural resources. I believe in sound as a physical substance with medicinal properties.  

I believe in music as a metaphor for the human form. I believe in the universality of the raw materials and syntax of music and their kinship across genres, styles, generations, geography, space, and time.  

I believe in both the horizontal and vertical axes of music. I hearken to their dialogue and long to converse with them. I believe that the study of music is synonymous with wonder and awe. I believe in the equality of integrity and interpretation in rendering any score.  

I believe the most authentic musicking possible comes from love before anything else.


Vince Peterson Curriculum Vitae Revised October, 2021 135 KB
Vince Peterson: The Musician's Credo This is a guided exercise designed to help musicians gain a strong sense of self and of their work in the world. It has helped hundreds of people to show up more confidently in the musical workforce and can be adapted for other disciplines as well. 65.4 KB
A Choir Is A Beautiful Thing An excerpt from "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" by Muriel Barbery - Journal of the Movement of the World No. 4. 20.4 MB

Long Biography

Vince Peterson is a respected, award-winning choral conductor, composer/arranger, and teacher of music in the United States. He has established himself most prominently in the world of choral music, notably having founded the "shape-shifting" vocal ensemble Choral Chameleon in 2008. Through his work with this ensemble and others, he has influenced widespread change in common practices of choral music concert programming and interdisciplinary work. An undisputed champion of new music and an empathetic composer, himself, Dr. Peterson is responsible for presenting nearly 300 premieres of new choral and theater music in the last fifteen years and has won critical acclaim in Gramophone Magazine, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The New York Concert Review, I Care If You Listen, The Examiner, The San Francisco Chronicle, and other reputable publications. He is also a recipient of the prestigious ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming. 

In addition to his work with Choral Chameleon, Dr. Peterson has been the proud Artistic Director of Empire City Men’s Chorus since 2014 and led the ensemble through its 25th Anniversary Season.

As composer and arranger, Peterson has received seven commissions from the multi-Grammy® Award-winning ensemble Chanticleer, whose YouTube videos of his work have garnered over a million views. Several of his choral arrangements and original compositions have become staples for choirs across the United States. Distinguished performance venues include Chicago Symphony Hall, San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House, Bartok National Concert Hall in Budapest, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, Carnegie Hall, and National Sawdust. 

As a collaborative pianist and organist, he has toured with choirs in Italy, France, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, The Philippines, and throughout North America. At the age of fifteen, he played the organ for mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, and sang at an audience for Pope John Paul II. To this day, he continues to work extensively in liturgical music ministry.

Dr. Peterson earned the BMus in Composition from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of the late celebrated composer Conrad Susa. He earned a Double MM in Composition and Choral Conducting from Mannes College of Music, where he studied under pioneer conductor Mark Shapiro as well as composer David Loeb and was awarded the Music Teacher's League Award for 2007 upon graduation. He earned his DMA from the Conservatory at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia, writing his dissertation on his former teacher, Conrad Susa. He is a leading authority on Susa’s work. He was the 2018 recipient of the Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal by Chorus America, a lifetime distinction he shares with only nineteen of the most influential choral musicians in the United States.

A recognized thought leader in the music world, The New York Times called Peterson "authoritative beyond his... years," and The Brooklyn Eagle praised his work as "a stunning symphony of the spiritual and secular," while hailing him as a solo performer "with depth and vigor" who "provided a universal context which resonated with his audience.” Through his work as a teacher and pedagogue, he has mentored, inspired, and supported hundreds of musicians across musical disciplines and from six continents.