BEHIND THE SCENES
1. What started your interest in music?
Peterson: I’m not sure. I was always into music and I loved ’70s and ’80s rock bands. I played a lot of guitar back then so going into music was between saxophone and guitar. For me, I thought that being a professional guitar player would be irresponsible so I chose the saxophone.
2. Did you always know that you wanted to make music your life?
Peterson: Definitely. I always knew when I was a kid. It was all I was ever into.
3. What do you think of the music scene in Fargo?
Peterson: I have been more and more impressed with how the music scene has been growing. I’m impressed with the level of good musicians in this town and the amount of good work that’s available and the opportunities that you can make happen.
4. How does teaching fit into your life?
Peterson: That’s my day job. If I didn’t have all those students I would have a lot more gigs. (Laughing) Seriously though, I love teaching and I love working at Concordia. They’re happy to have their faculty out doing what they do. They’re happy to see us out performing around town, regionally or even internationally. Concordia sponsored a trip to Scotland and Italy for my saxophone, flute and piano trio called the Excelsior! Trio. We’ll be playing at St. Andrews, Scotland at the World Saxophone Convention, and from there we’re flying down to Italy and we’ll be the featured group at the Faenza Saxophone Festival.
5. Can you rank teaching, writing and performing in your life?
Peterson: I love doing all three. I’m totally ADD so the great thing is that I get to spend a week or two writing a piece, then I teach and then one night I get to perform with Post Traumatic Funk Syndrome, and the next night I’m playing the bassoon with the FM Symphony. When I eat I like to eat a potato chip, chocolate then pasta. I like one little bite of everything at one time. It’s so cool that I can do that in Fargo-Moorhead.
6. Since you’ve played with so many bands at so many venues, is there one that stands out that still makes you say, ‘Wow, that was cool!’?
Peterson: I’m lucky. I’ve gotten to do performances in European concert halls. Back in 1995 I won an international saxophone competition in Geneva, Switzerland. I got to perform with a Swiss orchestra in this beautiful hall, and a week later I got to run up to L’Orchestra de la Suisse Romande and Collegium Musicum, Basel and I got to play with their orchestra in a huge concert hall with 3,000 seats. If you’re playing with a good band you can be playing in somebody’s basement and it would rock.
7. What do you have planned in your future?
Peterson: We have this Europe trip in July for two weeks. I also teach at the International Music Camp up in Dunseith, N.D. I do a lot of classical writing. I’ve finished up two pieces this year. I’m writing a piece for the FM Chamber Chorale, they’ve commissioned me to write a piece for choir, piano and saxophone. I’m also writing a trombone concerto for Assistant Professor Nathaniel Dickey for trombone and band. And THEN I’m writing ten new pieces for FM Symphony and Post Traumatic Funk Syndrome for the show “Symphony Rocks.”