John Peterson was born in Wollongong, NSW, in 1957, and studied composition at the University of Sydney under the guidance of Peter Sculthorpe, Eric Gross, and Ross Edwards. He has Bachelor Music (1990) and Master of Music (1994) degrees, and he completed a PhD (Composition) at the University of Sydney in 2003.
As a composer John has written works for many Australian chamber music groups including The Contemporary Singers, Sydney Mandolins, The Seymour Group, the Coruscations Ensemble, the Shostakovich String Quartet, the Omega Ensemble, and Halcyon. John’s music for orchestra has been performed in Australia by the Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra, the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, and the Sydney Youth Orchestra. In New Zealand his orchestral music has been performed by the Auckland Philharmonia and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra; while in Britain his Rituals in Transfigured Time was recorded by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
In general, John's music reflects his interest in tonal idioms, as well as the creation of the energy and rhythmic propulsion inherent in many popular music styles.
In 1992, John was a finalist in the Jean Bogan Prize for Piano Composition, and in 1995, and again in 2000, he was a finalist in the Corbould Orchestral Composition Competition.
On two occasions, in 1997 and again in 2001, John Peterson was shortlisted as a semi-finalist for Masterprize, an international competition for new orchestral music run jointly by BBC Music Magazine and the London Symphony Orchestra.
In Australia in 2005, John Peterson was the winner of the prestigious Albert H. Maggs Composition Award.
John is the author of the book The Music of Peter Sculthorpe (2014), an analytical study of the music that Sculthorpe composed throughout his long and productive life.
In 2015 John was the winner of the Australian Flute Festival Composition Competition with his work for flute sextet entitled Emergence.
John recently retired from his position as Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of New South Wales, where he taught within the areas of composition, film music, and music theory and analysis.
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