photo credit 2016 Peter Eriksson

photo credit 2016 Peter Eriksson

Since moving from North Dakota to Sweden in 2008, composer Matthew Peterson has made his mark as an independent, vital voice in music, praised for his “mastery of vocal writing and colorful orchestration” (Classical Voice America) and for crafting opera that is “truly beautiful” (Anne Midgette, on Lifeboat), and “instantly compelling” (Heidi Waleson, on Voir Dire).

His music defies categorization. Sixty-plus performed works feature mystical soundscapes, atmospheric light-clouds, soaring voices embracing one another midair, airy and elusive constructions of undulating dynamics and flickering facets, powerful zigzag lines, unruly and physically pounding rhythms snorting with life, and songs of devastating simplicity.


Peterson has recently been commissioned by Washington National Opera, Gustav Sjökvist Chamber Choir, Uppsala Vokalensemble, Sound of Stockholm Festival, Tartu University Chamber Choir, and Northwestern University. 

Recent and upcoming projects include Washington National Opera’s January 2017 world premiere of the chamber opera Lifeboat (a John F. Kennedy Center Commission), Fort Worth Opera’s April 2017 world premiere of the chamber opera Voir Dire, the October 2017 world premiere of Lux Aeterna by Gustav Sjökvist Chamber Choir, and the 2017-18 world premiere of solo works for saxophonist Linn Persson and guitarist Mårten Falk. 


Matthew has been awarded the Fulbright Grant to Sweden, grand prize in the 2014 Uppsala tonsättartävling, the 2014 ASCAP Rudolf Nissim Award, 2015 Minnesota Orchestra composer institute, two BMI student composer awards, the 2014 Fort Worth Opera Frontiers Festival award for chamber opera, and other grants, honors, awards and recognitions from: the Swedish Arts Council, Svensk Musik, FST (Swedish Composers Association), STIM, ASCAP, Manhattan Beach Music, Third Angle ensemble, New Lens concert series, Opera Vista, North-South Consonance, Indiana University, Boston Choral Ensemble, National Opera Association, vocal ensemble Chanticleer, Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra, Forth Worth Opera, Vocal Essence, and St. Olaf College.  


Peterson holds degrees from the Gotland School of Music Composition (artist diploma), Indiana University School of Music (M.M.) and St. Olaf College (B.M.), where his teachers included Sven-David Sandström and Mary Ellen Childs. Currently a part-time instructor in composition and ear-training at Lilla Akademien, Matthew has also served on the faculty of the Gotland School of Music Composition (Visby, Sweden) and as an Associate Instructor in music composition at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Matthew is an avid outdoorsman and lives on the island Lovö, outside Stockholm, Sweden.