timothy peterson

Béla Bartók Fellow


“I am an avid reader of literature from the French- and Spanish-speaking worlds, holding a BA in Comparative Literature and a BM in Composition… I wondered how I might use music to make a difference in the lives of migrants, a community with which I began working at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital as a French-English translator for Francophone African survivors of torture…I was specifically inspired to translate because I, like all artists, prize freedom of expression, and migrants’ voices are often limited by linguistic and socioeconomic factors.”

— Timothy Peterson

Timothy Peterson Promo Photo.jpg

Driven by a constant curiosity, composer TIMOTHY PETERSON (b. 1994) draws on a kaleidoscope of influences. Finding inspiration in sources ranging from impressionist, jazz, and classical Arabic styles to literature from the French- and Spanish-speaking worlds, he aims to welcome audiences into musical narratives of genre-crossing expressivity.

Timothy’s music has been performed in the US and Europe at venues ranging from art galleries, distilleries, and coffee shops to universities and concert halls such as Lincoln Center. Ensembles that have presented Timothy’s music include the New York Philharmonic (as part of its School Day Concerts) and Sō Percussion. His Duet for Body Percussion (2015), which features an original notational system, was recently incorporated into introductory composition classes at the Mannes School of Music and the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

A frequent participant in festivals including the Silk Road Ensemble’s Global Musician Workshop, Timothy currently pursues a MM in Composition at the University of Southern California, where he studies under Frank Ticheli. He also holds a BM in Composition and BA in Comparative Literature from the University of Michigan, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa. Timothy’s previous composition teachers are Kristin Kuster, Evan Chambers, Paul Schoenfeld, Erik Santos, Andrea Mazzariello, David Conte, Narcís Bonet, and Kyle Blaha. As a pianist, he has studied under Martin Katz, Christian Matijas-Mecca, Matthew Bengtson, Amy I-Lin Cheng, and Wilma Machover.

Timothy has also studied Carnatic (South Indian) singing in Mysore under Rajalakshi Kamala, Afro-Cuban batá drumming in Havana under Octavio Rodríguez Rivera, and the qanun (Arabic zither) in Tangier under Mohamed El Harzli. His studies in Morocco were generously supported by the University of Michigan Honors and Islamic Studies Programs. Timothy is a self-publishing member of ASCAP.