top of page
John Peterson - Featured Composer

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 completed his 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, Acacia Quartet, the Coruscations Ensemble, the Shostakovich String Quartet, the Omega Ensemble, and Halcyon.  John’s music for orchestra has been performed in Australia by the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Youth Orchestra, the Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra, and his choral music with the Sydney Philharmonia Choir, Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir, and Royal Melbourne Philharmonic.  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, his music is evocative and energetic, making extensive use of additive (irregular) rhythms, and reflects his personal interest in rich harmonic constructs and tonal idioms.

A primary compositional interest has been on the creation of large-scale choral works such as Shadows and Light (2004), which received its American premiere in Texas in 2016, Mourning and the Light Within (2006), and Dreams and Visions(2011), which had its American premiere in Washington in 2017.


In Australia in 2005, John Peterson was the winner of the prestigious Albert H. Maggs Composition Award.  In 2015 he was the winner of the Australian Flute Festival Composition Competition with his work for flute sextet entitled ‘Emergence’.  In 1992, John was a finalist in the Jean Bogan Prize for Piano Composition, and he has been a finalist in the Corbould Orchestral Composition Competition (in 1995, and 2000).  On two occasions (1997 and 2001) John Peterson was shortlisted as a semi-finalist for Masterprize, an international competition run jointly by BBC Music Magazine and the London Symphony Orchestra.  


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 distinguished career.

John Peterson is currently Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of New South Wales, and teaches within the areas of composition, film music, and music theory and analysis.






For further information on John Peterson visit:

bottom of page