Music History Alumnus Thriving as Music Composer
Jeff Peters ’09 says sense of community helped pave the way for a successful career
During his time at Syracuse University, Jeff Peters ’09 divided his time between courses in the College of Arts and Sciences and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. He was also a member of the Renée Crown University Honors Program. Peters spent his free time at WERW (Syracuse University’s independent, student-run radio station), playing and recording music, or attending shows on campus and in the nearby neighborhoods. Peters’ passion for music continued after graduation, leading him to an exciting career as a music composer.
We caught up with Peters to learn more about his life after graduation:
1. Where are you from? Where do you currently live?
I am from Hamilton, Mass. and currently live in Brooklyn, New York.
2. When did you graduate from Syracuse University?
I graduated from Syracuse University in 2009.
3. What was your major?
I was a dual major: Music History and Television, Radio, and Film.
4. What is your current job title?
I’m currently a senior composer at Jingle Punks.
5. What is your role in your current position?
I compose music for films, TV shows, and ads, and I write songs for pop/hip hop/country artists. I have done music for The Voice, American Pickers, ESPN's 30 for 30 series, the Academy Awards, and Morgan Spurlock's feature film Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope. I have written songs with Dierks Bentley (“Ride On”), Ashanti (“Let it Snow”), and Chiddy Bang (“The Happening”, co-written with LP).
Most recently, I arranged Nas' Illmatic album for orchestra and performed with him in South Africa for a 20th anniversary concert.
6. How did Syracuse University help you get to where you are today?
I am still in touch with and work with many of my fellow classmates from Syracuse. I believe that the university fosters a strong sense of community and respect among its alumni. In my company alone there are eight SU grads. I think this is a reflection on the strength of our network and speaks to the quality of education – both in subject knowledge and real-world preparation – provided at Syracuse University.
7. How did the College of Arts and Science positively impact your life’s trajectory?
The freedom to figure out what I wanted to do in my career wouldn't have been possible in a more rigid curriculum. I was able to take classes that would focus my goals and help me discover new aspects of music I was previously unaware of.
8. What are you most thankful for after reflecting on your experience at Arts and Sciences?
I am thankful for the encouragement to explore, create, and think outside of the box. Instead of only writing papers (though I did those as well), I was able to do other projects like scoring short films, analyzing the effect of different songs in the same scene in a movie, and having listening exams that test my ears and music retention abilities – something that is very applicable with my current job.
9. Outside of academics, what was your favorite way to spend free time on the Syracuse campus?
Play music, record music, and go to shows.
10. Do you regularly visit campus for events? If so, what typically brings you back to campus?
From time to time. You can't beat the apple orchards around Syracuse. I have also come back to speak at some songwriting, film scoring, and music industry classes.