Peter Dayton (Trey) hails from just north of Cincinnati, Ohio and spent his childhood playing with Legos, video games, and going once a year to see Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, living in a town with only one traffic light. In the 7th grade, he first became interested in art music through the video game music of Nobuo Uematsu. Through piano lessons he discovered the works of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, two composers whom he considers to have a profound influence on his taste in music. Early works included solo piano pieces and a musical number contributed to his high-school's production of the pastiche musical theatre show Working.
He applied to Vanderbilt to become an English major, specializing in Creative Writing. It was not until a music theory class with Professor Carl Smith inspired him to write a movement for piano trio that he considered choosing composition as a lifelong pursuit. Having transferred to the Blair School of Music his sophomore year, Trey has enjoyed studying counterpoint with Carl Smith and composition under Dr. Michael Kurek, Dr. Michael Alec Rose, Dr. Michael Slayton, and Dr. Stan Link, premiering pieces regularly on the Living Sounds concerts. He received a Bachelor's degree in Composition/Theory with a minor in English from Vanderbilt in 2012, graduating Summa Cum Laude and a member of the Pi Kappa Lambda music honors society. Since 2011, Trey worked for Michael Alec Rose as an engraver of Rose's handwritten score on projects ranging from solo instrument scores to wind band scores and parts. He intends to continue to pursue higher degrees in education in the near future.
Trey's participation in the Vanderbilt music community included 22 performances of his compositions between 2009 and 2012, 12 of which were at events outside of designated student composer concerts. Requests for compositions have come both from students and from members of the faculty; students, faculty, and student organizations not related to the music school have taken part in performances of his work. To this day Trey maintains a close relationship with the Vanderbilt community and continues to have works performed at his Alma Mater after his graduation.
Participation in the Vanderbilt composition program has included master-classes and private lessons with composers Miguel del Aguila, Joseph Schwantner, Richard Danielpour, David Sanford, and Michael Hersch. In addition he has taken part in an exchange program with the Royal Academy of Music in London, exploring new performance and compositional techniques with performers/collaborators Peter Sheppard-Skærved and Chris Redgate, as well as composers David Gorton and Phil Cashian. In June 2012, he studied composition and orchestration privately at the Malmö Musikhögskolan with professors Staffan Storm and Bjorn-Tryggve Johannson; while in Europe, he took the opportunity to visit the UK and worked with composer Michael Finnissy for several days.
Much of his musical inspiration has come from a cross-pollination with other art forms, such as the plastic arts and poetry. Many of his works based on paintings have received accolades from the paintings’ creators or their estates, including the endorsement of the estates of Charley Harper and Ivon Hitchens, and the personal endorsement of the internationally acclaimed Polish-Peruvian artist Fernando de Szyszlo. Trey has also received performances at other academic organizations such as in September 2012 at the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay, in March 2013 at the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay and March 2013 at (SUNY) Stony Brook University on Long Island, and in April 2013 at the University of Georgia in Athens and has received requests for his music from instructors, students, and professional musicians in northern and western Europe.
Trey attended (SUNY) Stony Brook University's Masters Program during the Fall of 2012 but withdraw at the end of his first semester. After leaving Stony Brook University he engaged with the local Cincinnati music community, having his work performed by Classical Revolution Cincinnati in July 2013 and in June of 2013, and producing a benefit concert of his music. The proceeds of this concert went to Ohio’s Freedom to Marry Ohio, an LGBT rights advocacy organization. In June 2013 he placed as a semi-finalist in chamber music student division of The American Prize for Composition. Trey intends to pursue higher degrees in education with the eventual goal of a doctorate in composition.