Peter Kater

Pianist/composer Peter Kater is known for his scores for television, film, and theater, as well as for his own recordings of light jazz and new age music. Born in Germany, Kater moved from Munich to New Jersey when he was four. He began piano lessons three years later and studied classical music until taking up rock & roll in his early teens. At the age of 18, Kater moved to Boulder, Colorado, where he played improvised music and lived for over a decade before moving to rural Virginia, where he built Earth Sea Studios. Until the opening of Earth Sea in early 1997, Kater had recorded exclusively for the Silver Wave label, starting with his debut release, Spirit, in 1983. He went on to release over 20 albums on Silver Wave, including highly successful collaborations with R. Carlos Nakai that resulted in, among others, How the West Was Lost, Vols. 1-2 and Migration (1992), which also received the NAIRD Best New Age Album Indie Award. Several of Kater and Nakai's recordings rose to the Top 20 of Billboard's new age chart, and a few of Kater's own releases -- which range from solo to quintet lineup -- have charted in the Top 25. Since starting his Earth Sea label, Kater has released records that include 1998's Compassion and another collaboration with Nakai entitled Winds of Devotion (1999). Source Music put out Heart's Desire in early 2001 and Inner Works: Piano & Strings in 2002, while Silver Wave released 2003's Red Moon, which earned the musician his first Grammy nomination for Best New Age Album. Subsequent albums to receive Grammy nominations included 2005's Piano, Fire from his four-part Element Series, 2007's Faces of the Sun, Ambrosia from the five-part Healing Series, and In a Dream, a 2009 collaboration with Sting guitarist Dominic Miller. Kater's score for the 2010 animated film The Legend of Secret Pass found the artist working instead with a 70-piece orchestra and 50-voice choir. Annual Grammy nominations followed for Wind, Rock, Sea & Flame: Aloha Au Ia 'Oe, Light Body, Illumination, and 2014's Ritual with Nakai. Among his continued work in scoring for the screen was the 2014 documentary mini-series Civil War: The Untold Story. Co-written with Bobby Horton, it incorporated vocal passages, folk instruments, and atmospheric keys. Other collaborations included 2015's Heart of Silence: Piano and Flute Meditations with Michael Brant DeMaria, and 2016's Inner Passion, a duo album with cellist Tina Guo. In early 2017, Kater composed the soundtrack for the animated film The Legend of Secret Pass, followed in September of that year by an album of piano improvisations called Dancing on Water. ~ Joslyn Layne & Marcy Donelson

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