Full CV here.
Steve Peters (b. 1959) makes music and sound for a wide range of contexts and occasions using environmental recordings, found/ natural objects, electronics, various musical instruments, and human voices. Attentive to the subtle nuances of perception and place, his work is often site-specific, understated, and contemplative. He performs with the Seattle Phonographers Union, and works as a freelance producer, writer, and curator. Since 1989 he has been the Director of Nonsequitur, a non-profit organization presenting experimental music and sound art, currently via the Wayward Music Series at the Chapel Performance Space in Seattle. His music has been released on such labels as Cold Blue, Palace of Lights, Sirr, and Dragon's Eye.
Composer/sound artist Steve Peters was born in the San Francisco Bay Area and raised in the suburbs of southern California. He graduated from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where he studied music composition, was Music Director at KAOS-FM, and played guitar in rock bands with friends like Steve Fisk, John Foster, Bruce Pavitt, Calvin Johnson, Cheri Knight, Tim Brock, Lois Maffeo, and Gary Wilson. He wrote for OP Magazine and other publications, and with Rich Jensen produced Snapshot Radio, a monthly three-hour radio program devoted solely to the sounds of everyday life, recorded by themselves and friends around the world.
In the mid-1980s Peters moved to New York City, working first as an intern at Franklin Furnace, then as part-time factotum at New Music Distribution Service, ticket seller at the Museum of Modern Art, recording engineer of books-on-tape for the blind, and audio Artist-in-Residence in the Long Island public schools. These years were mainly spent playing noisy improvised music in the Downtown experimental music scene. He also presented Snapshot Radio on WFMU-FM, began working with dancers, and took performance workshops with members of Meredith Monk's company.
Chewed up and spit out by NYC, Peters landed in Santa Fé, New Mexico in 1988, and soon he and friend Jonathan Scheuer started Nonsequitur, a non-profit organization publishing recordings of experimental music and audio art. Abandoning the style of music he had played in New York, Steve became more interested in regional and world folk musics, incorporating those influences into his own work, along with environmental sounds recorded on hikes in the mountains and high desert. He made eccentric radio art, worked with singer Marghreta Cordero (aka Nacha Mendez) as Dueto Le Mômo, was a member of Gamelan Encantada for seven years, and studied gamelan selonding in Bali.
Moving to Albuquerque in 1993, Peters hosted radio programs on KUNM-FM, formed a short-lived trio with composers David Dunn and Chris Shultis, collaborated with choreographer Lane Lucas on several dance/theater projects, and scored a documentary about painter Agnes Martin. Performing solo and with others (including Steve Roden, Anna Homler, Francisco López), he developed a more subdued style of improvising with an assortment of small instruments, amplified tree branches and other objects, voice, field recordings, and electronics. This led to a more direct engagement with landscape and place, evolving into the site-specific sound environments that have since become the main focus of his practice. He retired from live performance in 2002.
After fifteen years in the desert, Steve returned to the Northwest in 2004. Still Director of Nonsequitur, he currently oversees the Wayward Music Series at the Chapel Performance Space in Seattle. He also continues to work as a freelance producer, writer, and curator, and performs occasionally with the Seattle Phonographers Union, a collective of artists from various disciplines who improvise with unprocessed field recordings.