Percussionist Ben Atherton is the Curator of New Music Raleigh (NMR), a collective of dynamic musicians dedicated to presenting outstanding performances of music by living composers. He is also a regular extra percussionist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra where he has performed under leading conductors including Lorin Maazel, Mariss Jansons, Manfred Honeck, Chales Dutoit, Leonard Slatkin, David Zinman, Rafeal Fruahbeck de Burgos, and Gianandrea Noseda.
Prior to his current positions, Ben served as Principal Timpanist of the Big Time Band, Washington, DC, and as a member of Tempus Fugit Percussion Ensemble. He has also performed with the North Carolina Symphony, the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, and the Washington Bach Consort.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ben began studying percussion with his father at a young age. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in percussion performance from Duquesne University where he studied with Stanley Leonard, Andrew Reamer, and Gerald Unger.
Ben currently lives in Raleigh, NC, with his wife Sarah, who serves as Assistant Concertmaster of the North Carolina Symphony. He enjoys reading, biking, skiing, coffee, and studying music.
Ben endorses Yamaha Percussion and Innovative Percussion.
Sarah Jonson Peters
Before being named Assistant Concertmaster of the North Carolina Symphony, Sarah Jonson Peters was a member of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra and had an active freelance career in Washington DC, performing regularly with the Washington National Opera and the Eclipse Chamber Orchestra. She is a former member and soloist with the National Repertory Orchestra and the Westmoreland Symphony.
Ms. Peters is also an avid chamber musician. She is a founding member of the Really Intense Music Project of Washington DC and performed with the Laurel String Quartet, which was formed under the guidance of the Guarneri String Quartet. Along with two of her sisters, she has been performing as a member of the Jonson Trio since 1988.
A native of Pittsburgh, Mrs. Peters began her musical training at the age of five with Debbie Holland, and later Hong-Guang Jia and Huei- Sheng Kao, both assistant concertmasters of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Peters received her bachelor’s degree in violin performance from Carnegie Mellon University, where she studied with Carolyn Huebl and Cyrus Forough. After graduating, she moved to Washington DC to pursue her Master’s degree with Elisabeth Adkins at the University of Maryland.
Since moving to North Carolina, Mrs. Peters has actively embraced the Raleigh arts community. She is the curator of New Music Raleigh, a cutting-edge ensemble dedicated to performing the works of living composers. In addition, she serves on the board of the Raleigh Chamber Music Guild, maintains an active teaching studio, and can even be found playing locally and recording with rock bands such as Broken Social Scene, The Rosebuds, and Lost in the Trees. Ms. Peters performs during the summer with the Colorado Music Festival at Chataqua, in Boulder. Her husband, Shawn Peters, the former Principal Timpanist of the United States Navy Band, is also a curator of New Music Raleigh.