Peter Vukmirovic Stevens is a composer, pianist and visual artist. Steven’s music is heard widely in concert halls across the U.S., Europe, the Caucuses and Japan. He performs as a contemporary solo and chamber pianist in the U.S. and Europe. His artworks have shown in Seattle, Los Angeles and Paris and have featured in Studio Visit Magazine.
Stevens studied composition with Bern Herbolsheimer at Cornish College of the Arts where he graduated magna cum laude. After graduation, he went on for further orchestration studies with Samuel Jones, professor emeritus at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. He also studied composition and piano performance with Bodhan Bubak in Prague, and Indian vocal music and composition in Varanasi, India. He co-founded the Seattle Pianist Collective, an innovative concert ensemble, and served as the Artistic Director from 2006 to 2012. He has been awarded grants from the Allied Arts Foundation, and has twice received the Jack Straw Artist Support Award. Stevens has been awarded artist residencies at the Haytayan House in Armenia, Visby International Center for Composers in Sweden, and at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. Stevens continues to reside in Paris.
Traveling and learning languages have been significant sources of inspiration for his works. A dedicated traveler, Peter has crossed the Occidental Sahara, lived in the African brush with the Basari people of Senegal, and traversed India, Bhutan and many other countries in Europe and South America.
His works deal with not just his travels and understanding of humanity, but with time and the essentially unchanging human experience.
“My travels to remote and rugged places create experiences that constantly reshape my understanding of the world. As I am transformed by my experiences, I answer with music and art. What I make, in turn, remakes me.”
My music is often created using musical narratives and stories. These narratives are composed of a palette of psychological states made to pull and push the senses of the listener. I seek to capture the essence of the consonances and dissonances in our lives—and of the times we are living in.
I write music, using extended tonality, to speak to people not only from the concert music world, but to creators and audiences across disciplines.
Titles can serve as a departure point for a new work. I may be drawn to a word, or words, for its meaning, rhythm or potential to ignite the imagination of the listener.
“Found object artists are artists who work with the flotsam and jetsam of the world, a coyote skeleton by the side of a lake, a car spring in an auto salvage yard. Peter V. Stevens is a found artist of music. In the pounding of a foundry or the pealing of a temple bell in Bhutan, he finds music that he then translates so that we can hear what he hears. And what he hears is beautiful, so beautiful, in fact, that I rank him as one of the country’s best young composers.”
Samuel Jay Keyser
– Professor Emeritus of Linguistics Phonology, Lexical Theory, Poetics at MIT