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Peter Talbot Westergaard (28 May 1931[1] – 26 June 2019)[2] was an American composer and music theorist. He was Professor Emeritus of music at Princeton University.


Westergaard was born on 28 May 1931[3] in Champaign, Illinois. He pursued undergraduate studies at Harvard University, graduating in 1953, and in 1956 obtained an M.F.A. degree from Princeton University. He studied with Roger Sessions, Walter Piston, Darius Milhaud, Edward Cone, Milton Babbitt and Wolfgang Fortner (Pratt 2001) in Freiburg/Germany.[citation needed]

He taught at Columbia University, Amherst College, and Princeton University before retiring in 2001. He continued to be active as a composer, mainly of opera and chamber music. He died in June 2019 at the age of 88.[4]

Composer and theorist

Amongst former pupils of Babbitt, Westergaard stands out for his contributions to serial theory, as well as for his compositions, which are characterized by a delight in symmetry and mirror relationships, together with a concern for the systematic and integrated use of all the parameters of music, producing multileveled, clear, beautiful, and audible patterns (Griffiths 1981, 160–61).



Film version of Alice in Wonderland published by Albany records.[full citation needed]

Vocal music

Instrumental music



  1. ^ International Who's who in Classical Music. Europa Publications Limited. 28 June 2019. ISBN 9781857433685. Retrieved 28 June 2019 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Saxon, Jamie (July 2, 2019). "Peter Westergaard, music scholar and 'composer of formidable skill' dies at 88". Princeton University. Archived from the original on 2019-11-30. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  3. ^ "Peter (Talbot) Westergaard - pages in English". Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  4. ^ "SAD NEWS - American Composer Peter Westergaard Has Died - Aged 88 [RIP]". 28 June 2019. Retrieved 28 June 2019.