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Richard Peaslee

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Richard Peaslee


Richard Peaslee (b. 1930, New York City) is an American composer.

Mr. Peasless received his undergraduate degree in Music Composition from Yale University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. After serving two years in the U.S. Army, he received both a diploma and a Master of Science degree from The Juilliard School, in addition to studying privately with Nadia Boulanger in Paris and William Russo in New York and London.

Peaslee has served on the faculty of the Lincoln Center Institute and New York University’s Music Theatre Program and is a former board member of The American Composers Orchestra and Jobs For Youth. He serves on the board of American Opera Projects and SCAN New York. A retrospective on his career was presented by Lincoln Center’s Composers’ Showcase at Alice Tully Hall.

Peaslee has written extensively for the theatre in New York, London and Paris. In addition to numerous scores for Broadway, Off-Broadway and regional theatres, he wrote the music for the Peter Brook/Royal Shakespeare Company productions of The Marat/Sade, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, US and Antony and Cleopatra.

In dance, Peaslee composed the score for Touch, commissioned and performed by the New York City Ballet with choreography by David Parsons, and The Four Humours, commissioned and performed by Pilobolus.

His concert works have been performed by orchestras, chamber ensembles and soloists, most notably the Philadelphia, Detroit, Seattle, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, and Buffalo Symphony Orchestras. His concerto for trombone, Arrows of Time, was premiered by the Seattle Symphony.

In jazz, his numerous works for big band have been played by William Russo’s London Jazz Orchestra, the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, the Stan Kenton and Ted Heath Orchestras and by soloists that include Gerry Mulligan (for whom he wrote Mulligan Concerto). His scores for film and television include the Joseph Campbell/Bill Moyer series The Power of Myth (music nominated for an Emmy), Claudia Shear’s Blown Sideways Through Life (American Playhouse) and Time/Life’s Wild, Wild World of Animals.

Awards include: The American Academy of Arts and Letters Marc Blitzstein Award; Obie, Drama Desk, and Villager Awards; as well as NEA and NYFA Fellowships.

Works for Winds