One of my biggest pet peeves in Music Education reform conversations is what I see as an outsized focus on discussion of what is wrong with Music Ed when compared to the amount of time spent suggesting solutions. Contrary to popular belief, criticism by itself doesn’t solve problems. Criticism is easy. Building something better is hard.
We must take the next step. Vince Peterson is taking steps. Often, the most important step is the one we take is an internal one. In this episode we learn how to create our own “Musician’s Credo.” An exercise developed by Vince for his students, that I found to be profound and beyond that of a “philosophy of education.” So, in many ways, as Vince is asking me the questions in his worksheet, I am being psychoanalyzed on my own show! You will hear me engage in this work in real time. I highly recommend listening to Part 1 of this talk, downloading the PDF below, and doing this assignment for yourself.
Then, be sure to tune in to Part 2 next week, as Vince discusses his brainstorm that is “Greenhouse Music” and why he thinks some of the problems with music education, and educator training need real solutions by rethinking the model, the access and the outcomes.
Vince Peterson is a respected choral conductor, composer/arranger, and teacher of music in the United States. His 20-year hybrid career spans the worlds of choral music, theater, sacred music, and music education. He has, however, established himself most prominently in the world of choral music, notably having founded the “shape-shifting” vocal ensemble Choral Chameleon in 2008. Under his leadership, Choral Chameleon has premiered more than 150 works since its nascence and has won critical acclaim in The New York Times, Time Out New York, The New York Concert Review, I Care If You Listen, The Examiner, and other publications. In 2015, the ensemble was awarded the prestigious ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming. In 2017, the group was named the first vocal ensemble artist-in-residence at NYC’s undisputed new music hub, National Sawdust.
In 2003, Peterson earned the BM in Composition from San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of celebrated vocal music composer Conrad Susa. He has also studied composition with David Conte, Elinor Armer, and Philip Lasser. In 2007, he earned a Double MM in Composition and Choral Conducting from Mannes College of Music where he studied under pioneer conductor Mark Shapiro as well as the composer David Loeb. Upon receipt of his Master’s Degree, he was also awarded the singular Music Teacher’s League Award for 2007.
As a prolific arranger, Peterson has received seven commissions to date from the multi-Grammy® Award-winning ensemble Chanticleer, whose YouTube videos of his work have garnered over half a million views. Several of his choral arrangements and original compositions have become staples for choirs across the United States. Distinguished performance venues include Chicago Symphony Hall, San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House, Bartok National Concert Hall in Budapest, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Carnegie Hall, among others.
A recognized thought-leader in the music world, The New York Times called Peterson “authoritative beyond his… years,”and The Brooklyn Eagle praised his work as “a stunning symphony of the spiritual and secular,” while hailing him as a solo performer “with depth and vigor” who “provided a universal context which resonated with his audience.”
In 2018, Vince Peterson was awarded the Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal by Chorus America, a lifetime distinction he shares with only sixteen of the most influential choral musicians in the United States.
In addition to his work with Choral Chameleon, Peterson is overjoyed to serve as Artistic Director of Empire City Men’s Chorus, which he has recently ushered through its 25th Anniversary Season.