Wayne Peterson is a Pulitzer Prize winning composer, pianist and educator.
Peterson earned B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Minnesota. He did advanced study on a Fulbright Scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music, London, England.
In 1960, he joined the faculty of San Francisco State University, reaching the rank of Professor of Music, from which he is now retired. In 1998 San Francisco State University, established the Wayne Peterson Prize in Music Composition. Peterson was awarded the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Music for The Face of the Night, The Heart of the Dark, an orchestral work commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony and conducted by David Zinman. A controversy was involved in the Pulitzer Board's decision and Peterson was reported to have the following comments about the prize years later:
Winning the Pulitzer has meant nothing for the piece that won. Back when Blomstedt was at the San Francisco Symphony, David Zinman conducted it and did a beautiful job. But they never did it again and nobody else has ever played it. Itâ€™s a very difficult piece. I write chromatic music and chromatic music is not in vogue at the moment. I think that has not helped things. The Prize has benefited me in other ways, however. You get a lot of notoriety out of it. My commissions have soared and everything I have written since that time has been published. And I am fortunate enough to have some of the best musicians in the world playing my chamber music, which has led to a CD that has just come out.