Obituary: Composer Wayne Peterson, 93

Posted on: April 20, 2021

“Wayne Peterson, an American composer and educator whose ‘The Face of the Night, the Heart of the Dark’ was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1992 over the public objections of the Pulitzer [music] jury, died April 7 at his home in San Francisco,” writes Tim Page in Sunday’s (4/18) Washington Post. “He was 93…. For 30 years, Mr. Peterson had been a composer, pianist and professor at San Francisco State University, respected by most musicians who knew his work and highly regarded by his students. The Pulitzer … changed his life…. Mr. Peterson’s award has stood the test of time…. Wayne Turner Peterson was born in Albert Lea, Minn., on Sept. 3, 1927…. He studied piano and took a particular interest in jazz. By his late teens, he was touring with a big band and one could often hear the influences of bebop on his later music…. He studied in England at the Royal Academy of Music…. He taught at what became San Francisco State University from 1960 to 1991 and was a guest professor of composition at Stanford University from 1992 to 1994. In all, Mr. Peterson wrote more than 80 works for orchestra, chorus and chamber ensembles. His awards included fellowships and commissions from the Guggenheim, Koussevitzky and Fromm foundations as well as an award of distinction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.”