Through his long and distinguished career, Gordon Peters was an orchestra player, conductor, teacher, administrator, author and composer. He served as principal percussionist and associate principal timpanist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1959 to 2001 and was both conductor and administrator of its training orchestra, 1966 to 1987.
Peters grew up in Cicero, Illinois. As a teenager, Peters was timpanist of the Roosevelt College Orchestra and the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. He spent three years in the U.S. Military Band at West Point. He went on to earn both Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where he founded the Marimba Masters, a unique ensemble of seven players that appeared with various symphony orchestras and played numerous professional engagements.
Prior to his appointment to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra by Fritz Reiner in 1959, Peters played with the Rochester Philharmonic under Erich Leinsdorf and with the Grant Park Symphony (1954 until 1958). Peters has appeared as soloist with the CSO, taught at Northwestern University (1963 to 1968) and accumulated an impressive list of podium accomplishments.
Peters composed the popular Swords of Moda-Ling for percussion ensemble, and he has arranged and edited many works for marimba ensemble. He authored and published a 368-page treatise on percussion entitled "The Drummer: Man," plus numerous articles and pedagogic outlines. Gordon Benes Peters served as the first national president of the Percussive Arts Society from 1964 to 1967 and was inducted into its HALL OF FAME in 2002.
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Following the custom of all schools of learning, The Monteux School Of Conducting has, from its inception, bestowed an Award Of Merit on a graduate student. These awards have been few; for the idealistic learnings, together wih the knowledge of the baton, are often too arduous a task for the average pupil.
Tomight, we have the great pleasure of conferring the honor of "Disciple" on a long-term student -- a man who, because he has recognized life as an unfinished synphony, and through the years has conducted his relationship with those about him with no discord but with the melody of friendship, has often been disappointed but never lost hope.
A man who, rather than seeking to be seen, heard, and felt, has absorbed the wisdom and humility of his master-teacher, and therefore has been found worthy to go forth and bear the burden of the tradition of great music. I give you, with the greatest of pleasure, the 8th disciple of the Monteux School, Mr. Gordon Peters.