Born: May 5, 1958 Primary Instrument: Composer/conductor/leader
Peter Buffett was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and graduated from Central High School in downtown Omaha. He attended Stanford University.
Buffett began his musical career in the early part of the 1980s in San Francisco. There, he produced albums for local talent. He also was hired by ad agencies to author commercials and logos for MTV and CNN, both of which were at the time new on cable television in the United States. Agencies also hired Buffett to write commercials for Coca-Cola and other notable clients.
Narada Productions, a new age music recording company, signed Buffett to a recording contract. In 1987, Buffett debuted with Narada, releasing an album entitled The Waiting. While working on his second album, One by One, Buffett moved to Milwaukee, home of Narada Productions and closer to his childhood home in Omaha, Nebraska. Buffett would release two more albums with Narada: Lost Frontier and Yonnondio.
While with Narada, Buffett had his first major success, scoring and choreographing the Fire Dance in the film, Dances with Wolves. The film score, composed by John Barry, would win an Academy Award. After Buffett played at the film's 1991 premiere, John Barry invited Buffett to collaborate with him once again, this time at the Abbey Road Studios in London. Buffett composed two songs on the soundtrack for The Scarlet Letter.
After the release of Yonnondio, Buffett signed with Epic Records, which in 1994 released his soundtrack for the CBS miniseries 500 Nations, which was produced by Kevin Costner, who also co-produced Dances with Wolves. The miniseries would win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries in 1995.
In 1996, Buffett produced Star of Wonder, a Christmas CD featuring Celtic harpist Kim Robertson. Buffett married his wife Jennifer Buffett in June 1996. Buffett then signed with Hollywood Records, which released his album Spirit Dance in 1997.
In 1998, Peter Buffett entered the pop music realm with the release of Comet9's Like Mercury on Milwaukee-based independent label Don't Records, with Buffett producing, writing and playing multi-instrumentalist. Co-writer and guitarist Tom Nelson and vocalist Susan Zielke completed the studio trio, with Citizen King members D. J. Brooks and Malcolm Michiles guesting on drums and turntables, respectively. The live band added bassist Josh Warner to the lineup.
In 1999, his score for the documentary Wisconsin: An American Portrait won the Emmy for Best Soundtrack.
Also in 1999, Buffett was involved with a benefit concert for Jamie and Robert Redford. At this concert, he performed with Hawk Pope, chief of the United Remnant Band of the Shawnee Nation. Buffett and Pope decided to collaborate, and began touring together in a live version of the PBS Pledge Special Spirit. In 2004 an updated version of the Buffett-created and composed Spirit was performed on the National Mall during the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in its own state-of-the-art 800 seat theater tent.
In 2006, he released his first vocal album, Gold Star. In May 2010 his book Life is What You Make it: Finding Your Own Path to Fulfillment is published.
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