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Robert Paterson, composer
Mostly Modern Projects
Robert Patterson.jpeg

A "modern-day master" and often the "highlight of the program" (The New York Times), American composer Robert Paterson is well-known for his reverence for nature, his puckish sense of humor, as well as consistent praise from audiences and artists alike. Paterson was named Composer of The Year by the Classical Recording Foundation at Carnegie's Weill Hall.

His opera Three Way won the Grammy® under Best Classical Producer of the Year, and his music has been named “Best of the Year” on National Public Radio and featured numerous times on NPR's Performance Today. “A bright and magnificent score”(Opera News), Three Way premiered with the Nashville Opera and then to BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), and his operas continue to be performed with companies across the United States.

Minnesota Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Austin Symphony, Vermont Symphony, Delaware Symphony, Musica Sacra, Albany Symphony, Opera Memphis, and many more have performed his music. Shine received its world premiere with the American Brass Quintet at Aspen Music Festival and continues to be performed at Juilliard, Princeton, and nationwide.

Robert Paterson is passionate about writing for choir. The Oratorio Society of New York debuted Whitman's America at Carnegie Hall in 2022, and his choral works have been commissioned, premiered, and performed by some of the greatest choirs in the world, including the Chamber Choir of Europe, Musica Sacra, Ember Choral Arts, Atlanta Master Chorale, New York Choral Society, Albany Pro Musica and New Amsterdam Singers. Musica Sacra and Kent Tritle recorded his first choral music album entitled Eternal Reflections.

His awards include the Copland Award, a three-year Music Alive! grant from the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA, as well as awards from the Utah Arts Festival, the American Composers Forum, ASCAP, and fellowships to Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Copland House.

Born in 1970, Paterson was raised in Buffalo, New York. He is the son of the distinguished American sculptor and painter couple Eleanor & Tony Paterson. Although visual art was a constant in his life, his first love was percussion, and he discovered a passion for writing, composing his first piece at age thirteen. In the late 1980s, Paterson pioneered the development of a six-mallet marimba technique. He presented the world’s first all-six-mallet marimba recital at the Eastman School of Music in 1993 and released the first-ever album of six-mallet music, Six Mallet Marimba, in 2012 (AMR), to a sold-out crowd at the Rubin Museum in Chelsea, NYC.

Paterson holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music (BM), Indiana University (MM), and Cornell University (DMA). In 2005, Paterson founded American Modern Ensemble and serves as Artistic Director and house composer for Mostly Modern Projects, which includes Mostly Modern Festival USA, Mostly Modern Festival | The Netherlands, and the affiliated record label, American Modern Recordings. He has given master classes at numerous colleges and universities, most recently at the Curtis Institute of Music, Aspen Music School & Festival, University of Denver, New York University, and the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Robert is a lifelong vegan and an advocate for animals and the environment, celebrating the natural world with iconic works such as his Triple Concerto, A New Eaarth, Listen, and I Go Among Trees. Robert lives in Saratoga Springs, New York with his wife, Victoria, and son Dylan.

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