Robert Paterson, Composer & Artistic Director

Photo Credit: Lisa Mazzucco

Photo Credit: Lisa Mazzucco

Composer Robert Paterson and Victoria Paterson founded American Modern Ensemble (AME) in 2005. He serves as Artistic Director as well as a House Composer, frequently contributing pieces to the ensemble. He also founded and directs AME's affiliated record label, American Modern Recordings (AMR), a boutique label specializing in music by living composers, distributed by NAXOS.

Considered a 'modern day master' and often the 'highlight of the program' (The New York Times), Robert Paterson's music is loved for its elegance, wit, structural integrity, and a wonderful sense of color. Paterson was named The Composer of The Year from the Classical Recording Foundation with a performance and celebration at Carnegie's Weill Hall in 2011. His music has been on the Grammy® ballot for the past three seasons, and his music was named ‘Best of 2012' on National Public Radio. His works have been played by the Louisville Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Austin Symphony, Vermont Symphony, BargeMusic, the Albany Symphony Dogs of Desire, among others.  Paterson’s choral works were recorded by Musica Sacra and maestro Kent Tritle, and the album was released in 2015, with a world premiere performance at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.

Current premieres include Shine for the American Brass Quintet, performed at Aspen, Princeton, and Juilliard in 2015. His opera, The Whole Truth, is being showcased at Opera America and given its New York premiere January 16th-19th, 2016.  Also in the works is a new work for orchestra and chorus for the Gulf Coast Symphony,  Moon Music for the Claremont Trio, and Graffiti Canons for the Volti choir in San Francisco. His string orchestra work, entitled I See You, was performed by an all-star orchestra conducted by Delta David Gier, with the Jack Quartet, Del Sol Quartet, PUBLIQuartet and string players from the American Modern Ensemble in 2015.

Notable awards include the winner of the Utah Arts Festival, the Copland Award, ASCAP Young Composer Awards, a three year Music Alive! grant from the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA, and yearly ASCAP awards. Fellowships include Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony,  and the Aspen Music Festival.

Paterson holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music (BM), Indiana University (MM), and Cornell University (DMA). Paterson gives master classes at colleges and universities, most recently the Curtis Institute of Music, Aspen Music Festival, New York University, and the Cleveland Institute of Music. Paterson resides in NYC with his wife Victoria, and their son, Dylan. He summers in Maine where he is the director of the composition program at the Atlantic Music Festival. For more information, visit