Peter Saltzman Info

Please click on the tabs for various info on Peter Saltzman.

Peter Saltzman

It started at age 4, seated at the piano. A single note that moved and morphed through the years, becoming Peter’s unique musical language. His organic fusion of qualities—the distinctiveness and improvisation of jazz, the soul of blues, and the compositional technique of Bach, Beethoven, and other classical composers—led to an emergence of new sounds, a new feel, a new purpose.

Peter’s broad career in the music industry as composer, pianist, singer-songwriter, and entrepreneur started as a budding teenage jazz musician in Chicago. He studied jazz at the Bloom School of Jazz (Chicago, IL), majored in jazz at Indiana University (Bloomington, IN), and majored in composition and piano at Eastman School of Music (Rochester NY). Later, he studied film scoring at UCLA-Extension (Los Angeles, CA).

In 2016, Peter’s music hit a major turning point. He developed a hybrid platform—an album-ebook—to showcase his latest musical endeavor within his memoir. Blues, Preludes & Feuds, A Musical Memory is a seamless blend of original solo piano music and story with deep technology-art interactions. The music skillfully wends around the narrative, telling the story in its own way. The memoir is a funny, reflective tale of growing up in the politically charged times of 1960s Chicago as Peter journeys to discover his musical language.

Over his career, Peter’s prolific musical work has run the gamut—solo piano, orchestral, chamber, theatrical/film, choral, pop. Various ensembles have performed and recorded his work globally—the Czech National Symphony Orchestra recorded his orchestral dance suite “Walls” (1996), and the Dallas Black Dance Theatre performed “Walls” during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Peter’s concert work is published by Oxford University Press; his film and television work is published by Wild Whirled Music. His music has been licensed for television shows, jingles, and industrials, including My Name is Earl (NBC, 2006).

In the mid-to-late 90s, Peter led the Revolution Ensemble, a group that broke new ground with its adventurous mix of jazz, classical, Latin, and pop genres. Since 2001, he has headed the Peter Saltzman Band as lead singer, pianist, songwriter/arranger—and produced CDs/demos for Chicago-area artists.

From 2006 to 2014, Peter was an adjunct professor of music at the Columbia College Chicago, where he developed and taught a series of courses entitled “Technology for Musicians” and taught piano and theory.

Media Reviews

“Powerful stuff”—Dallas Morning News
“Ambitious, richly layered, wonderfully accessible”—Chicago Sun-Times
“Imaginative . . . brilliant”—Chicago Tribune
“Jaws drop when Saltzman sits at the piano and plays.”—

PUBLISHED WORKS (Oxford University Press & Wild Whirled Music)

  • Eight Funky Etudes, intermediate jazz, rock piano solos (2000)
  • A Song of Songs Cycle, for voice and piano (2000)
  • The Lord is my Shepherd, SATB Choral (1997)
  • Go Down, Moses, SATB Choral (1997)
  • Baruch Ata, SSA Choral, with piano and percussion (1999)
  • Birth of Soul, SATB Choral (1997)
  • Chanukah, Oh Chanukah, Upper voices with piano, electric bass, percussion (1997)
  • Mi Yimalel, SATB unaccompanied (1997)
  • 10 Action Adventure Orchestral Cues (commissioned and recorded for Wild Whirled Music) (2007)


  • Never Lose The Blues, suite for hybrid jazz/classical orchestra, performed by The Revolution Ensemble (live recording, 1998)
  • Walls, orchestral dance suite, recorded by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra (Albany Records, 1996)
  • Spooky Freaky Music, for the film “Alien Abduction” (The Asylum, 2005)
  • Radical Funk, chamber orchestra with electric bass and drums (1996)
  • Prime Time, full orchestra (2000)
  • Concerto for Tenor Sax and Orchestra (The Well-Tempered Riff), commissioned by West Suburban Symphony Orchestra, performed by the WSSO with Jim Gailloreto (2000)


  • Kabbalah Blues/Quantum Funk (see above)
  • Three String Quartets, 1981, 1984, 1994 (2nd string quartet won 1984 ASCAP Composer’s Award, Aspen Music Festival, 1984)
  • Four Piano Trios, (1996-1999 with piano and various instruments, written for and performed by the The Revolution Ensemble)
  • Jazz Trio, originals and standards recorded with Larry Gray and Robert Shy, 1981
  • Suite For Jazz Quartet (4 movements, sax, piano, bass, drums) written for and performed by the The Revolution Ensemble (1999)
  • Six Preludes for Jazz Quartet, (sax, piano, bass, drums), written for and performed by the The Revolution Ensemble (1999)
  • The Ones Who Crossed Over, wind quintet, performed by the Oak Street Winds (1997)




  • Jews in Space, a serial sci-fi musical work for television currently seeking productIon (first three episodes written, 2011-)
  • Piano Diaries Live, a serial one-man live theater show for Peter Saltzman and his piano (performances at Athenaeum Theatre, Chicago 2014)
  • My Name is Earl (NBC), underscoring for section of fall 2006 episode
  • Alien Abduction, orchestral and electronic score for feature film by Eric Forsberg, produced and distributed by The Asylum (2005)
  • Commercials/Industrial: Hip-hop track for Vancouver Police department spot (2006); Hip-hop educational video for Chicago Public Schools (2003)
  • The Temp, a jazz-pop opera, performed at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre, Santa Monica, CA (1991) (demo recording available)


  • see “Published Works” above


  • Hundreds of songs written, many recorded (see “Commercially Released Recordings” above)


  • Blues, Preludes & Feuds (parts 1-4): a 28-movement suite.
  • Preludes and Feuds for Piano, ongoing series of contrapuntal works for piano (2007-)
  • 24 New Blues, complex modern blues pieces for solo piano (in process of being recorded) (2008-)
  • 24 Old Blues, virtuoso old style blues pieces piano (in process of being recorded) (2011-)
  • Giant Steps Variations, ongoing series of pieces based on Coltrane classic (2003-)
  • Eight Funky Etudes, intermediate jazz piano solos (Published by Oxford University Press, 2000)
  • Six Concert Etudes, recorded by the composer (1994)
  • 12 Preludes, recorded by the composer (1994)
  • Jazz Waltz, recorded by the composer (1992)
  • Scherzo, recorded by the composer (1992)
  • Sonata (1994)
  • Variations on “All the Things You Are” (1994)
  • 12 Blues Etudes (2001)
  • Many, many, more…


  • 2006 Illinois Arts Council SAG Grant to complete concert video
  • 2001 Illinois Arts Council Fellowship Award in Composition
  • 2000 Commission by Oak Park/River Forest Children’s Chorus
  • 1999 Commission by Chicago Humanities Festival (Kabbalah Blues/Quantum Funk)
  • 1998 Commission by West Suburban Symphony Orchestra (Sax concerto)
  • 1997 Commission by Zephyr Dance Ensemble (Chicago)
  • 1996 Commission by Dallas Black Dance Theatre (for Walls)
  • 1995 City Award from City of Chicago for String Quartet
  • 1984 ASCAP Composers Prize, 1st Place, Aspen Music Festival

2001-Present   Leader of the Peter Saltzman Band

  • Lead singer, pianist, songwriter and arranger for original band that has performed throughout area
  • Venues include Jazz Showcase, Columbia College, Chicago Humanities Festival, Davenports, Chicago Cultural Center, Naperville Public Library, and others

2006-2014   Adjunct Professor or Music, Columbia College Chicago

  • Developed and taught a new series of classes called Technology for Musicians for Columbia’s Contemporary, Urban, Pop Program (CUP), a new undergraduate major started in 2008
  • Developed and taught Pop/Jazz keyboard class for CUP majors
  • Taught private piano students (jazz and classical)
  • Taught multiple levels of musician’s skill classes (sight-signing, ear-training, etc.)

2008-2012  Founder/CEO of

  • Created concept, design, and business plan for rich online music album format
  • Led 15-person development team based in India
  • Worked with top digital media executive at major labels to make platform accessible to high-leel artists

1997-2001  Founder/Artistic Director of The Revolution Ensemble (TRE)

  • Innovative cross-genre group performed works exclusively by living Chicago-area composers, including Peter Saltzman, Doug Lofstrom, Jim Gailloreto and Benton Wedge
  • Debut concert at Harold Washington Library consisted of a hybrid jazz/classical/rock 30-piece orchestra, Peter Saltzman conducting all original works
  • The Chicago Humanities Festival commissioned Peter Saltzman and TRE to write and perform a major new work at the 1999 Festival. The Chicago Sun-Times called Kabbalah Blues/Quantum Funk “ambitious, richly layered, wonderfully accessible”. The studio recording of this work was released to rave reviews in 2000.

2001-pres.  Produced CDs and Demos for Chicago-area artists

  • Produced, co-wrote, arranged and performed on Katherine Hughes’ CD Four Seasons (2001)
  • Produced Shawn Gilley’s debut CD, “Hold On” (2005)
  • Produced finished demo for Lauren Frost (2005) and Stephanie Haseman (2001)

1979-pres.  Music instructor in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago

  • Adjunct professor, music theory, Columbia College Chicago (2006-present—see above)
  • Private students ranging in age from 5 to 75
  • Teaching areas include piano (jazz and classical, beginning through advanced), composition (all levels and styles); theory (beginning to advanced modern); improvisation; song-writing, vocal technique
  • Adjudicator for composition and performance recitals for Columbia College (2003-pres.)

1979-pres.  Freelance pianist, vocalist and composer in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago

  • Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY, 1984-85),Majored in Composition and Piano
  • Indiana University School of Music (Bloomington, IN 1981), Majored in Jazz
  • UCLA-Extension (Los Angeles, CA, 1992-93) Film Scoring
  • Bloom School of Jazz (Chicago, IL, 1978-80) Jazz Studies