Vince Peterson, Artistic Director, is a respected choral conductor, composer/arranger, and teacher of music in the United States. His 20-year hybrid career spans the worlds of choral music, theater, sacred music, and music education. He has, however, established himself most prominently in the world of choral music, notably having founded the "shape-shifting" vocal ensemble Choral Chameleon in 2008. Across his work, he is responsible for presenting nearly 300 premieres of new choral and theater music in the last fifteen years and has won critical acclaim in The New York Times, Time Out New York, The New York Concert Review, I Care If You Listen, The Examiner, and other publications. He is also a recipient of the prestigious ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming.
In 2003, Peterson earned the BM in Composition from San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of celebrated composer Conrad Susa. He has also studied composition with David Conte, Elinor Armer, and Philip Lasser. In 2007, 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. Upon receipt of his Master's Degree, he was awarded the singular Music Teacher's League Award for 2007.
As a prolific arranger, Peterson has received seven commissions to date from the multi-Grammy® Award-winning ensemble Chanticleer, whose YouTube videos of his work have garnered over half 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, and Carnegie Hall, among others.
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.”
In 2018, Vince was awarded the Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal by Chorus America, a lifetime distinction he shares with only fifteen of the most influential choral musicians in the United States.
He has been Artistic Director of Empire City Men’s Chorus since 2014, and led the group through its 25th Anniversary Season.
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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 for witnessing 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 the 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.