Described by American Record Guide as “…a composer whose heart and care are palpable... who has a voice that deserves to be heard often” and by the Baltimore Sun as having “a refined sense of melodic arcs and harmonic motion,” Peter Dayton’s compositions have been performed across North America and in Europe. Peter holds a Bachelor’s Degree (summa cum laude) from Vanderbilt University and a Master’s Degree in Composition from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. At Peabody he was the winner of the Macht and Gustav Klem Composition Awards.
Peter’s creative output is directly shaped by his relationships and life experiences. Many of his works use visual art or poetry as the spark for an artistic response. His works responding to contemporary painters have generated friendships and connections across the globe, from England to Peru. Peter’s passion for literature has resulted in over a dozen settings of poems in art songs and choral works. In addition to his settings of modern American poets, Peter wrote the libretto for his own chamber opera May She | She May about the poet Gertrude Stein’s first love affair. His album of chamber music, Notes to Loved Ones presents pieces for piano and strings that “practically hum with the intensity of love and life, and they are presented in sequence in a way that makes the process of listening to them feel like looking through a beautiful photo album.” (American Record Guide).
Ablaze Records has published a substantial portion of Peter’s output for large ensemble. His works appear on Volumes 2 and 3 of their Orchestral Masters series, on the inaugural CD of their Sinfonia series, and on Volumes 1 and 2 of their New Choral Voices series. These works include Peter’s From Sombre Lands, after a painting by John Hitchens, and selections from the ongoing An American Mass cycle of choral settings of modern American poetry. Notes to Loved Ones, hailed by Whole Note as “an interesting and promising debut,” is published by Navona Records.
An involved member of local, national, and international musical communities, Dayton has studied in England and Sweden, taken part in festivals and conferences in Louisiana, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Italy, and Spain, organized concerts of his work in Ohio, Tennessee, and Maryland, and exhibited his music at the Violin Society of America, Chamber Music America, and American Choral Directors Association conventions. In 2019, Peter was chosen to be one of the 5 composer fellows for the annual Intimacy of Creativity Conference at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.