PETER GOLUB began playing the piano when he was six. Alongside his interest in music, in high school he developed a passion for the theatre, forming a troupe with a group of classmates and directing and acting in plays by Pinter, Ionesco and Beckett. His interest in music and theatre led to his ongoing interest in dramatic music as his career travels between film, theatre, and concert music.
Golub composed the score for Chloe Zhao’s Songs My Brothers Taught Me
, shown at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and Frozen River
, directed by Courtney Hunt, and winner of Jury Award for Best Film at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. The Laramie Project
, directed by Moises Kaufman for HBO, was the opening night film at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival and features a score performed by The St. Luke's Orchestra. With James Newton Howard, he co-composed the score for The Great Debaters
, directed by Denzel Washington and starring Washington and Forest Whitaker. He composed music for the documentaries Wordplay
(starring Will Shortz, Bill Clinton and Jon Stewart) and I.O.U.S.A.
, both directed by Patrick Creadon and both shown at the Sundance Film Festival. His score for Stolen
, directed by Rebecca Dreyfus, was awarded Best Music at the 2003 Avignon Film Festival. He also scored American Gun
, directed by Aric Avelino starring Forest Whitaker, Marcia Gay Harden and Donald Sutherland and Sublime
, directed by Tony Krantz, starring Thomas Cavanagh. In 2021 he scored Bernstein’s Wall,
which was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival.
(See the Film page
for complete listing, or visit the Internet Movie Database
Broadway credits include: Time Stands Still (by Donald Marguiles, with Laura Linney; Daniel Sullivan, dir), Come Back, Little Sheba (directed by Michael Pressman, with S. Epatha Merkersen, who was nominated for the 2008 Tony Award), Hedda Gabler (directed by Nicholas Marin, with Kate Burton), and Suddenly Last Summer (directed by Mark Brokaw, with Blythe Danner).
Early in his career, Golub began working in the theatre in New York, composing numerous scores and working with some of the giants of the downtown theatre scene. During his ten-year creative partnership with Charles Ludlam, he was composer-in-residence at Ludlam's legendary Ridiculous Theatrical Company, writing scores for such works as The Mystery of Irma Vep, Galas, Salammbo, and The Artificial Jungle. He and Ludlam wrote a dramatic scene for actor, mezzo-soprano and orchestra, The Production of Mysteries, which was performed by Lukas Foss and the Brooklyn Philharmonic He also worked on numerous shows with Joseph Papp at the New York Shakespeare Festival, including Shakespeare in the Park productions of Twelfth Night (with Gregory Hines, Michelle Pfieffer and Jeff Goldblum) and Othello (with Raul Julia and Christopher Walken). His ongoing collaboration with writer/director Moises Kaufman, includes scores for Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde and The Laramie Project. He worked with the noted performance artist Ethyl Eichelberger, composing and performing in Ariadne Obnoxious at the Joyce Theater and several musical at La Mama. As a member of Joseph Chaikin's Winter Project, he wrote and performed music for numerous productions at La Mama.
He has written two musicals: Amphigorey (with story and designs by Edward Gorey; Drama Desk Nomination) and The Idiots Karamazov (book by Albert Innaurato and Christopher Durang, lyrics by Mr. Durang). He's also written scores for Playwrights Horizon, Manhattan Theater Club, Berkeley Rep, The Mark Taper Forum, the Huntington, Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Old Globe, Seattle Rep, American Repertory Theatre, and the American Music Theatre Festival. With playwright Richard Nelson he wrote a musical theatre piece based on Chekhov's Platonov called "Unfinished Piece for Player Piano", which was performed at New York Stage and Film.
Golub's recent concert works include: On Gossamer Wings (for chamber orchestra), 17 Preludes for piano; Suite for Solo Violin; 8 Miniatures for Violin and Piano; Six Dirty Limericks, for soprano and piano; Ghost Songs for baritone and piano (texts by Thomas Hardy) and Light Verse for soprano and piano. Other works include: Dark Carols for Chorus and Orchestra (with text by Philip Littell, recorded on the ECM label); Threaded Dances for flute and piano; Three Interludes for guitar (recorded on Gasparao Records by Robert Phelps); As Birds Do, Mother for 'cello and oud. His music has been performed by Tashi, The Brooklyn Philharmonic, The Jubal Trio, and numerous chamber groups and soloists. He has composed four ballet scores in collaboration with noted choreographer Peter Anastos: The Lost World, commissioned by Edward Villella for the Miami City Ballet; The Gilded Bat (story and designs by Edward Gorey, for Ballet West; performed at the Kennedy Center); Trianon (for the Atlanta Ballet); and Straight Through the Heart (for the Milwaukee Ballet). (see complete catalogue of works under "Concert").
As an undergraduate at Bennington College, he studied composition with Henry Brant, a pioneer in spatial music in the tradition of Charles Ives and a master orchestrator. (In addition to his huge catalogue of original works, Brant orchestrated film scores by Alex North, including A Streetcar Named Desire and Cleopatra.) In addition to studying the traditional piano repertoire, he focused on 20th Century works. He continued his training at the Yale School of Music where he studied composition with Toru Takemitsu and Jacob Druckman and earned a Doctorate. His work and friendship with Takemitsu, who in addition to his concert works was the composer of a large body of film scores, was pivotal in his development and continues to be an inspiration.
Since 1999 he has been the Director of the Sundance Film Music Program, where he runs the yearly Composers Lab, a workshop for aspiring film composers. He was awarded the Classic Contribution Award by BMI and a 2008 Vision Award. He is also the recipient of a Charles Ives Scholarship (given by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters) as well as grants from the National Endowment of the Arts (Opera/Musical Theater Program), Meet-the-Composer, and New York Foundation for the Arts. He serves on the Board of the American Music Center.
He has taught at Bennington College, Reed College, Columbia College and CAL Arts. He is currently a continuing lecturer at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music and teaches in the Screen Scoring Program at USC. Golub is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.