“Nolan Gasser is a remarkably gifted composer, pianist, and arranger; he is a mass of music: classical, jazz, rock, blues… he never fails to blow my mind.”
Joel Selvin, Senior Music Critic, San Francisco Chronicle
Nolan Gasser is a critically acclaimed composer, pianist, and musicologist – most notably, the architect of Pandora Radio’s Music Genome Project. His original works have been performed in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall, La Salle Pleyel (Paris), and the Rose Bowl (Pasadena), among many others. Key current projects include an opera, The Secret Garden, commissioned by San Francisco Opera (premiered March 1, 2013), a musical, Benny and Joon, in partnership with H2H Productions and MGM On Stage, and a forthcoming book on the interrelation of music and science.
Among recent composition triumphs, his opera, The Secret Garden, held five sold-out performances at the 2000-seat Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, CA; the production – which received rave reviews, notably by the esteemed music critic Joshua Kosman in the San Francisco Chronicle – will next move to Houston Grand Opera, where it will be filmed for a future Naxos-released blu-ray DVD, followed by a string of other performances; his Sonoma Overture was premiered to glowing reviews at the opening of the new Green Music Center in Sonoma County, CA; his Cosmic Reflection: A Narrated Symphony – the second commission associated with NASA’s Fermi mission (depicting the entire history of the Universe) received its premiere at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. (later this year, Naxos Records will release a CD of Cosmic Reflection recorded by the Baltimore Symphony, under Marin Alsop, paired with Sonoma Overture recorded by the Santa Rosa Symphony, under Bruno Ferrandis); his World Concerto for Cello and Orchestra received its premiere in Oakland and San Francisco in performances by famed Israeli cellist Maya Beiser, and a trio of international soloists on the erhu, sarangi, and oud, along with the Oakland Symphony under Maestro Michael Morgan (forthcoming performances scheduled by several orchestras); the complete four-movement symphonic oratorio, American Festivals, was performed at IMG Artists’ 2008 Festival del sole in Napa Valley; his GLAST Prelude, written for the 2008 launch of NASA’s Fermi Space Telescope – recorded by the American Brass Quintet, and featuring video by NASA Goddard – became an Internet sensation, with over 150,000 views on YouTube.
Upcoming key events and projects include numerous future performances of Secret Garden and a high-profile performance of Cosmic Reflection, which will be performed at Stanford University’s Bing Auditorium in fall 2014 – where it will be a centerpiece for an academic initiative on the blending of arts and sciences, whereby the work will be accompanied by a new state-of-the-art video). Current and upcoming commissions for Dr. Gasser include a Jazz Concerto for Quartet and Orchestra (for a consortium of orchestras and soloists); a new ballet (set to the story of Alice in Wonderland); and several smaller choral and chamber works. Benny & Joon will be entering workshop in fall 2013, with off-Broadway previews slated for early 2014.
Outside of composition, Dr. Gasser is the chief musical architect of the Music Genome Project, the musical technology behind Pandora Radio – now with over 100 million subscribers in the US alone. He lectures widely at various public and private forums on the nature of musical taste and the intersection of music and science. Dr. Gasser is also the Artistic Director of Classical Archives, the largest classical music website on the Internet. He received his Ph.D. in Musicology from Stanford University, where he has been an Adjunct Professor in Medieval–Renaissance Music History. As a pianist, Dr. Gasser performs and records as a soloist, with his own jazz quartet – the San Francisco Jazz Quartet, and with such marquee artist as Steve Miller. He studied composition in Paris (and Fontainebleau) with Betsy Jolas, Gilbert Amy, and Tristan Murail; at NYU with Todd Brief and Menachem Zur; and at CSU, Northridge with Aurelio de la Vega. He lives with his wife and two children in Petaluma, CA.