Name: Matthew Peterson
Voice type: Baritone
SFS Chorus member since: 2011
Hometown: Roseville, Minnesota
Music school(s) you attended: Santa Clara University, Lutheran Summer Music Academy – Decorah, Iowa, Young Artist World Piano Festival – St. Paul, Minnesota
Began singing: When I was about seven years old. But I didn’t start singing in a curricular choir until I was sixteen.
Musical inspirations: The music department faculty at Santa Clara University, as well as the friendly and talented community at Opera San Jose.
If I were not a professional singer, I might be: A Blue Man in the Blue Man Group. The only reason I’m not already painting myself blue every night is that I don’t meet the stringent height restriction—I’m 5 inches too tall! I also probably have a ways to go with my percussion skills.
Favorite composers: Ravel, Beethoven, Chopin, and the many composers of the 19th- and 20th-century Anglican choral tradition—Herbert Howells, Charles Villiers Stanford, Herbert Murrill, Benjamin Britten, and Edward Bairstow, to name a few.
Favorite vocal works: The Ballad of Lady Musgrave (Benjamin Britten), Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis (Herbert Murrill), Manon (Jules Massenet), Bethlehem Down (Peter Warlock), Christmas Cantata (Daniel Pinkham)
When I’m not working, I enjoy: biking around the Bay Area. But when I’m feeling lazy, I play video games on my home-built computer. The best games are the ones with good music. Guitar Hero, anyone?
Recent reading: The Dragonbone Chair series by Tad Williams. I’m currently working on the Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki.
On my CD Player/iPod: my collection of popular a cappella music. My absolute favorite groups are Cadence, a vocal quartet from Toronto, and the House Jacks from right here in San Francisco. I also studied piano for 16 years, so I have a pretty good-sized collection of keyboard music ranging from Buxtehude to Bartók. Guilty pleasure: there’s also a lot of progressive trance music on my iPod.
Favorite things to do in the Bay Area: There’s nothing like biking across the Golden Gate Bridge and cutting west on Conzelman Road. It’s a workout to get to the top, but the view of San Francisco only gets better as you get higher. Also, you get to bomb downhill afterward!
Plus: I’m currently singing with the Chalice Consort (http://www.chaliceconsort.org/), a vocal octet specializing in Renaissance music, under the direction of Ragnar Bohlin. Having just finished my first concert series with them, I am elated to be a part of the group and so excited about the rest of the season.
I also perform with the Guerrilla Composers Guild (http://www.guerrillamusic.org/), whose mission is to tap into the wealth of undiscovered talent in the Bay Area and bring performers and composers together with their fans.
About twice a year, I travel to Washington, DC, to perform with the Washington Master Chorale (http://www.washingtonmasterchorale.org/). The group is unique in the DC area; while there are many excellent chamber ensembles and large symphonic choirs, the 60- to 70-voice WMC fills the gap between the two.
As my alter ego, I work at the University of California, San Francisco, for the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) tissue bank. We collect tissue and blood samples from clinical trial participants all over the world to be used in current and future cancer research projects.
Lastly: I love dogs. I want them all!