Peter Dayton

Composer | Pianist


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Aspects of Landscape Album Cove

Aspects of Landscape has been launched! The album was released on March 12, 2020 at the opening of John Hitchens's 80th birthday retrospective exhibition, and is now available online!

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N E W   M E D I A

Welcome to Peter Dayton's official website! Here you can learn more about Dayton's many artistic endeavors, peruse his catalogue of scores and discography, order music for study or performance, and stay up to date on news of recent and future concerts.

Baltimore-based, freelance composer Peter Dayton writes music that appeals to diverse listeners through its remarkable combination of energy and intimacy. His compositions have been performed across North America and in Europe; his orchestral pieces have been recorded by the Brno Philharmonic for the Ablaze label. Peter Dayton is involved in LGBT community activism, and was one of the founders of the Baltimore artist collective and multimedia series Amplified Cactus


In 2014, a recording of Dayton’s orchestral piece From Sombre Lands, inspired by a painting by John Hitchens, was released on Vol. 2 of Ablaze's Orchestral Masters series, performed by the Brno Philharmonic in the Czech Republic. His string orchestra composition Grounds, inspired by the countryside surrounding Hitchens's home, appears on Orchestral Masters Vol. 3 (2016) and was re-released on Vol. 1 of Ablaze's Sinfonia Series (2017). A suite of choral pieces by Dayton has appeared on Ablaze's New Choral Series Vol. 1 (2016) and Vol. 2 (2018) each. His first album of chamber music, Notes to Loved Ones (2018) was published by Navona Records.

Peter is the Programs & Operations Director for Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS), a Baltimore-based, statewide non-profit that advocates for and advances equitable access to quality arts education for Maryland's public school students. He is also the host of the M:BRACE podcast, interviewing M:BRACE teaching artists facilitating professional development for Maryland's creative teaching force.

F E A T U R E D   A C C O L A D E S

"...This experience will live with me for a very long time, and it is no exaggeration (though perhaps partly influenced by post-concert afterglow) to say that this is a new high watermark in my musical life."

Casey Mullin, Violist, co-commissioner of the Sonata for Viola and Piano

"...a composer whose heart and care are palpable. His melodic sensibilities are at center stage...Dayton is a young composer who has a voice that deserves to be heard often."

American Record Guide

"...a refined sense of melodic arcs and harmonic motion..."

Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun


"Thanks to you for the pleasure you have given me with your music and for understanding what I search for in painting."

Fernando de Szyszlo, Painter, Winner of the Order of the Sun of Peru

R E C E N T  &  U P C O M I N G  A P P E A R A N C E S

New videos recording of Peter's viola music from his September concerts are now available. Listen to Recurring Dream: Second Fantasy for viola and piano and Letters for John below.

Peter is featured on a new podcast: Pause and Listen, hosted by WBJC Classical Radio host John Scherch. Listen to the episode or click through to see all the episodes and the show notes.

Watch videos from Peter's recent 30th birthday celebration concert "To Celebrate the Need: New Vocal Music," featuring works for lower voice ranges: tenor & piano, TTBB & piano, and more!

Watch Peter's performance of From Sombre Lands at the opening of the John Hitchens: Aspects of Landscape 80th birthday retrospective opening at the Southampton City Art Gallery on March 12, 2020

R E C E N T  N E W S

Over the course of the summer of 2020, Peter has completed a range of pieces, both large and small in scale! These include:

  • Wilde Colours: a set of moody, Gothic text settings of landscapes, seascapes, cityscapes by Oscar Wilde for Soprano & (5-octave) Celesta or Soprano & Vibraphone

  • A year-long project came to completion when Peter finished composing his 30-minute long Sonata for Alto Saxophone & Piano for saxophonist Kyle Blake Jones.

  • A short setting of Robert Burns's famous Like a Red, Red Rose for high voice and harp (either folk harp or orchestral harp)

  • A setting of Edgar Allan Poe's The Valley of Unrest for SATB chorus, bringing haunting, atmospheric text to life through some sensuous harmonies.

  • Passing Stranger for Lyric Baritone and 2 Flutes, on a text from Walt Whitman's Calamus. The work, approx. 4 minutes in duration, illustrates a moment of sudden attraction with a stranger.

  • Desiderata: Ten Pieces of Wisdom for Soprano and Alto Saxophone, on Max Ehrmann's famous prose poem text. The new piece, around 9 minutes long, sets forth a series of statements about the desirable life and contains some beautiful, plainspoken language that resonates in a dark time.

Fanfare Magazine reviewed Peter's suite of choral works from his An American Mass choral cycle: Beyond All Change: "Dayton’s setting [of By Disposition of Angels, text by Marianne Moore] is highly beautiful, its dissonances moving the listening into an interior space. The world of the second setting, that of Vicki Hearne’s The Tree That Plucks Fruit is more mobile, an almost kaleidoscopic patchwork that leads to the lushness of Midsummer (text William Bronk) where solo voices radiantly illuminate the glowing harmonic basis. This is a lovely piece, lovingly performed" (review by Colin Clarke, Jan/Feb 2020 issue).

Peter's music received airplay in Croatia on January 6, 2020! The recently-released Mar de Lurín was played on Croatian National Radio's Americana show.

Peter has started a blog page after leaving Facebook. Read the blog here or subscribe to get notifications about new blog posts below!


  • Saturday, June 20, 2PM EST: Soprano Katie Procell and pianist Valerie Hsu presented a virtual concert of vocal, hosted by An Die Musik. Among a selection of classic art songs, Katie sang Peter's If They Delight, a setting of a poem by Gertrude Stein - perfect for Pride month! 

  • April 19, 2020, 6:00PM MDT (8:00PM EST): Altius Quartet violinist Joshua Ulrich performed a movement from Peter's Sonata for solo violin on a livecast concert by members of the Altius Quartet. Follow this link to see the livecast.

  • April 10, 2020, 7:30PM EST: Peabody Conservatory broadcast their video of the Peabody Symphony Orchestra's world premiere performance of Grounds, for String Orchestra, which took place in February, 2017. Click here to go to the page. The video is still available.

  • POSTPONED March 27, 2020, 7PM: Peter's art songs for soprano and harp will be performed at An Evening of Melody in Stillwater Minnesota at The Zephyr Theatre. Come hear soprano Gina Hanzlik and harpist/composer Amy Nam perform Peter's Mothers in Spring as well as give the world premiere of his short setting of an unpublished fragment of poetry by celebrated American poet Vicki Hearne, Beyond Dimension. Click here to buy tickets! (601 Main St., Stillwater, MN  55082)

  • March 12, 2020: Peter released an album of his music inspired by the paintings of British artist John Hitchens in conjunction with an 80th retrospective of John Hitchens's paintings in Southampton, UK. For the opening of the exhibition, Peter performed the piece which began his creative friendship with John, "From Sombre Lands" for piano. The exhibition is taking place at the City Gallery of Southampton (Civic Centre, Commercial Rd, Southampton SO14 7LY, United Kingdom)

A new recording of Peter's Mar de Lurín, after paintings by Fernando de Szyszlo is available on a newly-released album Figments, Vol. 2 by Navona Records. Listen below!
Listen to Peter's 2018 album, Notes to Loved Ones, Music for Strings and Piano on Spotify! Read more about the album on the Writing Notes To Loved Ones page

Multi-instrumentalist Ronnal Ford has created a virtual saxophone quartet performance of Peter's Still Wing On: Three Transcriptions for Saxophone Quartet Watch & listen below!

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