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The music of Peter Lieuwen has been commissioned, performed, and recorded by orchestras, small ensembles and artists throughout North America and Europe. His symphonic music has been hailed as "an attractive array of shimmering, shuddering sonorities" (The New York Times), "arresting in every single measure" (New York Daily News) and "undeniably ear - catching" (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch). The composer’s music for small ensembles has been described as "slight, dependent on dainty sound effects, and attractive" (The New Yorker), "broad in instrumental palette and highly successful in its handling of balances" (Musical America) and "dramatic, intricate, and incisive" (American Record Guide).
Many of Lieuwen’s compositions are impressions of nature and legend, infused with the kinetic rhythms of jazz and world musics. His orchestral works have been introduced by such orchestras as The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony, Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Americas, National Orchestral Association, Grosseto Symphony Orchestra (Italy), Kozalin State Philharmonic (Poland), Leipzig Academic Orchestra (Germany), Musicfest International Orchestra (Wales), Orion Symphony Orchestra (UK) and the Orchestra of the Swan (UK). Renowned conductors including Carl St. Clair, Paul Freeman, Danielle Gatti, Szymon Kawalla, Franz Krager, Jorge Mester, and Andre Smith have presented his works. The composer’s chamber and vocal works have been presented by various ensembles and artists including The Cassatt String Quartet, American Piano Trio, Core Ensemble, Enhake, Ensemble Bash (UK), New Mexico Brass Quintet, New Mexico Winds, Moran Wind Quintet, Quintessence Winds, Ravel String Quartet, Soli Chamber Ensemble, Third Angle Ensemble, Trio Bel Canto, Western Arts Trio, clarinetist David Campbell, pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin, percussionist Steven Schick, guitarist Isaac Bustos, and violinist Andrzej Grabiec.
Recent commissions include those for The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Pacific Symphony Orchestra (25th Anniversary Commission), Grosseto Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Academic Orchestra, Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra, Texas Guitar Quartet, New Mexico Brass Quintet, Quintessence Winds, the Core Ensemble, Isaac Bustos, and Andrzej Grabiec. The composer has also received three commissions from the Arts Council of Wales for the Musicfest Orchestra, Musicfest Trio, and Ensemble Bash. Lieuwen has been the recipient of several awards and honors including First Prize in the Musicians Accord National Competition for
Peter Lieuwen was born in Utrecht, The Netherlands, in 1953, and grew up in New Mexico. He studied at the University of New Mexico and the University of California, Santa Barbara with composers Scott Wilkinson, William Wood, Edward Applebaum, Emma Lou Diemer, and Peter Racine Fricker. From 1984 to 1987 he taught composition at UC Santa Barbara. Since 1988 he has been on the faculty of Texas A&M University. From 2000-2005 Lieuwen served as the inaugural head of the Department of Performance Studies at TAMU. He is currently Professor of Music and Composer-in-Residence.
Most of Lieuwen’s music is published by Keiser Classical, with recordings available on Albany, CRS, Crystal, Pro Arte/Fanfare, Naxos, New World, and VMM. Peter Lieuwen lives with his wife Bonnee and their family of animals in South Central Texas.