Robert Paterson (composer)

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Robert Paterson (born 29 April 1970) is an American composer, percussionist and conductor.


Paterson was born in Buffalo, New York. He studied composition with Christopher Rouse, Samuel Adler, Joseph Schwantner, Warren Benson and David Liptak at the Eastman School of Music, graduating in 1995. At Eastman, he was a double major and studied percussion with John Beck. He received a Master's Degree in Composition in 2001 from Indiana University, where he studied with Frederick Fox and Eugene O'Brien. In 2004, he received a DMA in Music Composition from Cornell University where he studied with Steven Stucky and Roberto Sierra. He also studied privately with Aaron Jay Kernis at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in 2000, and in 1999 he studied with John Harbison and Bernard Rands at the Aspen Summer Festival, as part of the Advanced Master Class and as the recipient of the Second ASCAP Aspen Film Fellowship. Paterson's music has been performed throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. His music is influenced by nature, rock and roll, jazz, world music and the music of other classical composers.

Paterson's performances and commissions include works for such internationally acclaimed ensembles as the Louisville Orchestra, Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Quintet of the Americas, the Chamber Choir of Europe and the Volti Choir of San Francisco. Other ensembles that have performed Paterson's works include The New York New Music Ensemble, Fireworks Ensemble, MAYA, Da Capo Chamber Players, California EAR Unit, Cygnus, Ensemble Aleph (Paris), Ensemble Nouvelles Consonances (Belgium), the Kairos String Quartet, the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, the Russian Chamber Orchestra, the MANCA Festival presented by the Centre National de Creation Musicale (CIRM) and the June in Buffalo new music festival.

Paterson is the Classical Recording Foundation 2011 Composer of The Year for his forthcoming CD The Book of Goddesses. He has received fellowships and residencies from the MacDowell Colony, Aspen Music Festival, Cornell University and Atlantic Center for the Arts, in addition to grants and awards from Meet The Composer, the American Music Center, ASCAP, the American Composers Forum, the Jerome Composers Commissioning Program, the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts, the Copland Award and the Society for New Music's Brian M. Israel Prize. Paterson appears on recordings for American Modern Recordings (AMR), Mode Records, Bridge Records, Centaur Records, Capstone, and Riax.

As well as being a composer, Paterson is also a percussionist and has "been instrumental in the commissioning of six-mallet works for solo marimba" and has to date, written fourteen works using a six-mallet technique (extended technique) he developed.[1]

Paterson is founder and artistic director of the American Modern Ensemble and lives in New York, New York with his wife Victoria Paterson, a violinist and their son Dylan.

Complete works[edit]

Orchestra/Chamber Orchestra/Sinfonietta[edit]

  • Closet Full of Demons (2000–01)
  • Dark Mountains (2011)
  • Electric Lines (2002–03/04, awarded the Louisville Orchestra Composition Contest prize in 2005)
  • Enlightened City (2005)
  • Slightly Comic Overture (1995–96)
  • Suite for String Orchestra (2001)
  • Symphony in Three Movements (2002)

Symphonic Band/Wind Ensemble[edit]

  • Crimson Earth (1997–99/2004)

Mixed Chamber Ensemble[edit]

  • Eating Variations (2006)
  • Embracing the Wind (1999)
  • Freya’s Tears (2010–11)
  • Looney Tunes (2006–07)
  • Skylights (2000)
  • Quintus (1996, awarded the Society of New Music's Brian Israel Prize in 1999)
  • Sextet (1999, awarded the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer's Award in 2000)
  • Star Crossing (1999, awarded the Tampa Bay Composers Forum First Prize for Excellence in Chamber Music Composition in 2001)
  • Sun Trio (1995)
  • Sunset (movement II from Sun Trio) (1995, awarded the Finger Lakes Chamber Ensemble New Music Competition award in 2001)
  • The Book of Goddesses (2010, awarded the Classical Recording Foundation "Composer of The Year" award in 2011)
  • The Thin Ice of Your Fragile Mind (2004)
  • Up North (1994)
  • Winter Songs (2000/2007–08)


  • Elegy (2006–07)
  • Sonata for Bassoon and Piano (2001)
  • Wind Quintet (2000/2003–04)


  • Expressions (1989)
  • Fanfare (1997)
  • Fantasia (1997)
  • Overture for Brass Quintet (1990)


  • Elegy (2006–07/2008)
  • Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano (2003, awarded the Auros Group for New Music Eight Annual Competition prize in 2005)
  • String Quartet No. 1 (1996–97, awarded the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award in 1998)


  • Christmas Time (1990)
  • Excerptia Overture (1991)
  • Helter Skelter (1984)
  • Humanus Ex Machina (1989)
  • Komodo (2004) (uses six-mallets)
  • Merry Go Round (1988–90) (uses six-mallets)
  • Piranha (2007) (uses six-mallets)
  • Postludes Nos. 1-3 (1990–93) (uses six-mallets)
  • Prison Cell (1989/2008)
  • Sabulum Reptilia (1985)
  • Stealing Thunder (1999–2000)
  • That's Amore (1992)
  • Voices (1988)

Marimba with one instrument[edit]

  • Braids (1998/2000) (uses six-mallets)
  • Clarinatrix (2011) (uses six-mallets)
  • Duo for Flute and Marimba (1998–99) (uses six-mallets)
  • Fantasia for Tuba & Marimba (1992) (uses six-mallets)
  • Links & Chains (1996/2000) (uses six-mallets)
  • Tongue and Groove (2008–09) (uses six-mallets)
  • Tongue and Groove (2009) (uses four-mallets)


  • Deep Blue Ocean (2010)
  • Meditation (1997)
  • Variations & Fantasies on an Accordion Song (1995)


  • A Dream Within A Dream (2010)
  • Did You Hear? (2010)
  • Eternal Reflections (2010)
  • Four Walden Canons (1999)
  • Life is But a Dream (2010)
  • The Essence of Gravity (2004–05)


  • Eating Variations (2006)
  • Stepping Into The Batter's Box, He Hears His Father's Voice (2005)
  • The Biographies of Solitude (1990)
  • Thursday (1999)
  • Winter Songs (2000/2007–08)

Film score[edit]

  • Journey Into Courage Film Score/Suite (1994–95) (percussion part uses six-mallets)


  1. ^ Jones, Timothy, A Survey of Artists and Literature Employing Extended Multiple Mallets in Keyboard Percussion; Its Evolution, Resulting Techniques and Pedagogical Guide, Doctoral Dissertation, College of Fine Arts, Graduate College, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, August 2003, p. 15.

External links[edit]