Nick Peros (born March 17, 1963) is a Canadian classical composer with an extensive catalogue of works that includes symphonic, orchestral, choral, vocal and chamber genres. His compositions are notable for their original tonality and harmonic invention and have received wide acclaim from critics and audiences alike.
A virtuoso guitarist with an extensive background in rock, blues, classical & Eastern music, Peros has been composing exclusively classical concert music since 1987. His earlier works were primarily for solo and chamber ensembles, and songs for solo voice & piano. Since then he has composed in virtually every genre, with a number of his works receiving a high international profile. In 1992 Peros composed his symphony Isumataq, for full orchestra and choir, as part of an artistic collaboration with Canadian painter Ken Kirkby. Kirkby’s painting, Isumataq, was the world’s largest painting on canvas measuring 152 feet by 12 feet and is a portrait of the high Arctic landscape. Peros’ symphony Isumataq was composed as an independent work based on the theme of the Canadian north, using the north as a metaphor and symbol for deeper, spiritual issues. The Isumataq project was recognized by the Canadian government in March 1993 as a work important for Canada and Canadian culture – a special ceremony was held in the Canadian Parliament, House of Commons to pay homage to Isumataq and was attended by Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, the Speaker of the House, the Party leaders and the Members of Parliament.
Peros released his first CD, Motets, in 1999, on the Phoenix Records (Canada) label. Motets features 20 a cappella choral works ranging from highly polyphonic, deeply textured multi-part works, to homophonic textured and two part pieces. Motets received high praise from critics, calling the works examples of “skillful, unexpected yet subtle modulations” evidencing a “compelling sound” and “ingenious chromaticism” (KW Record, September 23, 1999), “poignant and brilliantly conceived”, “visionary”, “featuring a mastery of wisdom and compositional grace” (Gadfly Magazine March 2001), a “skillful integration of edgy harmonies with texture and melodic material”, “wonderful use of chromaticism” (Classics Today July 2001). The world premiere concert of the Motets took place September 24, 1999 at Toronto’s George Weston Recital Hall, performed by The Renaissance Singers, conducted by Richard Cunningham.
Peros’ second CD, Songs, was released November 2000, and features 31 songs for solo voice & piano with texts by Emily Dickinson, A.E. Housman, William Wordsworth, Robert Louis Stevenson, William Blake and, most notably, Emily Brontë – 17 of the 31 songs on the CD are settings of Brontë's poetry, with some songs being the first time that Brontë's poems have been set to music.
In 2002 Peros composed Prayer of Consolation, a large scale a cappella choral work composed to commemorate the events of 9-11. Featuring a Biblical text compiled by Peros to reflect a dialogue between God and Man on the events of 9-11, Prayer of Consolation received its world premiere on September 10, 2002, in Washington DC at Washington National Cathedral, performed by The Palestrina Choir, as part of the US commemorations of the First Anniversary of 9-11. The premiere received extensive media coverage across North America with portions of the concert being broadcast nationally across Canada on CBC Television as part of CBC’s First Anniversary commemorations.
With almost 200 works in his catalogue, Peros’ music continues to receive extensive international performance, ranging from performances of full orchestral works to choral, chamber and solo works. In 2006, five of his Poemes for solo piano were recorded by pianist Linda Shumas and included on her solo piano CD Paradise Reborn. His Cello Suite No. 1 – Five Meditations for Solo Cello, and some of his other solo instrumental music, are also being released on CD in 2006.
Peros is also one of Canada’s most successful independent record producers – his CD O Canada – A Canadian Celebration (2002) is certified Platinum, while the CD’s Home for Christmas (2004), HomeGrown (2005) and Stories from Home (2005) have all achieved Gold Record sales status. Each of these CD’s were conceived, created and produced by Peros and released through his production company Peros Music.